Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Service or exploitation?
public grief? More importantly, why?I wonder when grieving became a public exercise? Once upon a time, people were left to grieve in the company of family and friends when a loved one dies – now it’s splashed across the pages and television screens of the nation. Just recently there have been some tragic deaths in Newfoundland and reporters have been assigned to go talk to the families, in some cases, before the dead person is buried. That’s followed by the heart-wrenching stories of how much the family misses the dead, the special moments, the little things the dead did for others. It’s the kind of reminiscence that once used to happen at the wake or at the reception after the funeral, but not until recently did it become a media exercise. How about the instantaneous tributes that pop up at the site of a death? Suddenly, there are flowers and teddy bears and notes about what a wonderful person so and so was. Consider as well when a student dies and the school is suddenly invaded by “counsellors” eager to provide their services to help the other students deal with their grief. TV cameras sit on the sidewalk to ask the students going into school “how they feel” or some other stupid questions. In some cases, it appears that it’s a catharsis for the survivors to be able to go on camera with tear-streaked cheeks to tell how sad they are. TV stations and newspapers do it over and over again because at essence, we are rubber-neckers, unable to pass by an accident on the highway without stopping to look and see. But when did we move from private grief to