Monday, 25 July 2011

Mourning isn't a competition

I think it is fair to say it has been a pretty devastating week.

The atrocities in Norway, the huge accident in China, the famine and the resulting complications in the Horn of Africa, the murders in a UK hospital and the death of an international pop star.

The reason I can mention these terrible but very different events in the same paragraph is because, as the title suggests, mourning is not and need not be a competition.

I was appalled to see some of the comments made by Dan Wotton, former Showbiz editor for the News of the World over the weekend. I could not comprehend the comments he made via Twitter "Amy all the way for me, Norway is a day old. Amy is an icon gone". Let alone the fact that from where I was sitting, he seemed to 'dine out' on the sad events over the weekend, appearing across news channels discussing the difficult decision for editors, Norway vs Winehouse. Now, I wouldn't want to be unfair to anyone, the comments are probably taken slightly out of context as he was involved in a more over-arching conversation about the news agenda ("Just seen the Sunday Mirror front page at Sky News. They haven't splashed on Amy Winehouse in first edition. Very strange decision"). Even so, surely there are better stories to use as case studies when discussing this? It looked very much like someone clambering to hold on to any sort of infamy/profile following the cancellation of his column.

I also wanted to mention in passing the Facebook status doing the rounds which caught my eye:
"5 days ago a true hero was killed fighting for our country. I bet you didn't know his name, I bet you didn't care, then a smackhead junkie dies and its all over Facebook, people need to start coming into the REAL world! RIP Corporal XXX XXXXX XXXX from the XXXXXX: PUT IT AS STATUS FOR RESPECT"

It really got to me. Not because I do not think that someone dying serving in the forces is sad; it undeniably is, but because of this 'competition of mourning' it seems to promote. If I am honest, I didn't know of the Corporal who died but I did know who "smackhead junkie" Amy Winehouse was. I was saddened to learn of her death, not because she was more important than anyone else who has passed away over the last week but because what she had done had made some sort of impact on me (albeit, very small; listening to her music).

I don't know, for some reason Twitter exploding over 'which is more important' this weekend seemed pretty vile in my eyes; It isn't a competition, RIP to everyone who has passed away in a very sad week and condolences to anyone involved.