The Grief Olympics

Over at Aleteia, Simcha Fisher has written about the jerkwads who come out staunchly indifferent to a particular current event and mock those who care about them. 

If you don’t care about David Bowie or France or the Super Bowl, well then, let’s give it up for you.

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But even more annoying, more childish, than the people bragging about their ignorance or indifference, are the ones claiming that someone else deserves your mourning more.

I call it, “The Grief Olympics,” and it goes a little something like this:

  1. A celebrity dies or their is a tragedy in the world.
  2. People react in grief.
  3. Other people react to first people’s reaction not just with derision but by proclaiming that some other celebrity or tragedy is more tragic and it must be racism, classism etc that is causing people not to notice.

Let’s take, for example, the Paris night club bombing. The same day, earlier the same day, a bombing took place in Lebanon that ISIS took responsibility for. There was a small outcry from people who said that it was shoved under the rug. In fairness to them, because of both things happening the same day and the comparative lack of free journalism out of Lebanon and the news cycle here in the US…there probably was some truth to that. Several of my friends admit that the earlier bombing (which occurred while most Americans were at work) they hadn’t heard about it and were equally upset by it when they did find out.

More egregious, however, were the people who began posting this story in outrage. First of all, the attack referenced happened months before, so we’re not even talking something recent. Second, all of my “friends” on facebook who posted this, never acknowledged these events when they happened either. So, evidently, they are only responsible for news they get off of social media and it’s up to social media who gets attention and there’s no way they could start a trend. Nope no way at all. The injustice being manufactured was disgusting, to say the least. Why? Because the flag overlay wasn’t available yet from facebook itself when the atrocities in Kenya occurred??? And people can’t be sad about France because of what happened months before in Kenya?

First of all, if facebook doesn’t give you a free over-lay, you can do it yourself for free on picmonkey. Second, why do we need to feel like some grief should outweigh others? It simply does not make sense.

This whole incident made it abundantly clear that the giant internet hand of spanking does in fact still exist.

It should be no surprise to anyone that one’s out-pouring of grief is directly proportional to the impact the tragedy or loss of life had on that particular person. That’s a “duh”moment right there. If my family member died the same day as David Bowie, obviously I’m going to be more upset about my family member’s death than Bowie’s but that doesn’t give me the right to shoot my mouth off to everyone in social media or the real world that my tragedy is so much more tragic!!!!

And it’s even more obnoxious when we are arguing over which celebrity gets the most grief. I have been mildly impressed that I did not see a single “Why everyone so sad about Bowie? Where was y’all when Natalie Cole died?” post. I’m not saying they don’t exist, but my friends seemed to keep it in check. Even more remarkable was when I saw a local reggae dj sending out respect and friends who really didn’t know the music sending prayers to the family.

We can appreciate each other’s grief without trying to make ours seem bigger. We can simply allow people to mourn and express grief without trampling all over them with how there are more things in this world to be upset about. Respect people. Just have respect and the manners will follow suit.