Here is from Paul Krugman's blog.

So, over the weekend we were told that our pass the popcorn moment — I mean, our long national nightmare — was over: Donald Trump would implode now that he had dared to question John McCain’s heroism.


I wonder what "our pass the popcorn moment" means. I know he meant by it "our long national nightmare", but I don't know what the "nightmare" has to do with "pass the popcorn".

3 Answers 3


"Pass the popcorn" implies that watching Trump talk was entertaining. Specifically, it is being compared to watching a movie, an activity often accompanied (in the U.S.) by the consumption of popped corn.

  • 2
    Better put it this way: It is being compared to watching the exotic part of a movie, such that you can't look away.
    – M.A.R.
    Jul 24, 2015 at 13:51
  • Good point. You're right.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 24, 2015 at 17:16
  • Does "Pass the popcorn" mean "I want to concentrate on the movie because it's so much interesting. So will you pass this popcorn of mine to anyone who wants it?" Or does that mean "Will you pass me the popcorn? I want to watch this movie eating it"? Jul 31, 2015 at 6:14
  • The latter, I think.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jul 31, 2015 at 22:08
  • The latter seems to be counter-intuitive. If the movie is really interesting, you don't care about the popcorn, do you?
    – Deep
    Aug 1, 2015 at 6:59

Pass the popcorn means that you callously do not care about the pain of the individual, and you are watching them for amusement. There used to be a better word for this, which is a nice long German one: Schadenfreude - "pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune." There are some awesome German words that just hit the nail on the head. The "pass the popcorn" thing evolved into eats popcorn (where you emote that you are eating the popcorn). You intend that the individual knows, by this comment, that you find them laughable because they are only providing you with entertainment. The candidate is a joke, is the immplication, here.

  • Used to be? Schadenfreude is still perfectly valid; it's just hard to pronounce or spell or remember. Aug 13, 2015 at 0:42

I think that the above definitions have missed a vital component. A popcorn moment is when you callously watch a fight between two groups of people YOU DISLIKE for pure entertainment value. The point is that the outcome can only be good because you have nothing you value in the fight and are quite happy to see either of both sides suffer. The popcorn illustrates that for you it is just light entertainment and the fact that the others might suffer is of no concern. eg Michelle Obama in punch up with Hillary Clinton.

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