Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Remind you of anyone?

This is just getting ridiculous. TV is still running the Pope marathon and helping everyone work themselves into a lather. A world-changing moment? The death of an angel? It all reminds me of another highly publicised death from several years ago. Remember the Paris tunnel? The flowers, and crying multitudes, the mass outpouring of grief. It was all much the same when Princess Diana died. People all over the world were saying how life had become meaningless, etc. etc. Just this morning I found in my mail a message from one of the lists I’m on. Someone is claiming that this is the greatest tragedy of the century. I do not know if he means the last five years or the last one hundred but, either way, the claim is ridiculous. An old man died after a full life. Nothing tragic about that apart from the obvious fact that death is tragic in general. On the other hand, even just the last five years have had their fill of tragedies: Sudan, Iraq, the tidal-wave in the Indian Ocean – I could keep on going and name hundreds of events which were by far more tragic.

The thing is that it seems like people are only now starting to get really worked up about the Pope’s death. Of course, the reason is that they aren’t reacting to the death but to the wall to wall coverage of the death. It is everywhere and it is ridiculous in its total lack of perspective – no wonder everyone else is losing theirs also. Many mainstream journalists have, once again, showed a lack of professionalism. Perhaps they are afraid that they will be rejected if they do not show the sufficient level of public grief. I don’t know. By next week something else will happen and the world’s attention will slide off the Pope’s death and onto some other issue. A case of Attention Deficit Disorder together with Manic Depression. It would be interesting to study the mechanics of how this happens. It is tedious and saddening to watch people, including ones that I’m close to, fall into this pattern.
The death of John Paul II was not a tragedy, given the full life he’d lived. He was not an angel or a saint, having done in his life many things that I consider heinous. However, he was a man who tried to improve the world in the way he saw it and, as such, someone who does deserve to be honoured in some way. The orgy of tremulous grief which the world is indulging in right now, however, honours no-one.


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