Just over a week ago, they announced the death of TV presenter Caroline Flack. Those close to her spoke of how she was struggling with the pressure of her upcoming court case for domestic abuse and how that pressure had been exacerbated because of coverage in tabloid newspapers and magazines. The tabloids soon found themselves on the receiving end of such scrutiny when people turned on them, blaming them for causing undue stress on what was evidently a very vulnerable person. The newspapers poured their hearts out for Ms. Flack while they hastily purged every article that had contributed to her despair.
She was due her day in front of a judge but the court of public opinion had already made up its mind.
This certainly isn't the first time this has occurred and, sadly, it might not be the last. It happened with Amy Winehouse at the height of her popularity and the lows of her substance abuse. Princess Diana was mocked for being a dumb blonde, her private conversations with her boyfriend were made public for all to see only then for the media to risk giving themselves whiplash with the 180 degree turn they did, suddenly remembering her charity work and comparing her to an angel on Earth after she died. They would later, completely devoid of any self-awareness, use those very same standards that they had elevated her to to judge her son's wife. They amplified Britney Spears' very public meltdown for the braying crowds and while it's all well and good to call out those who bring us this "entertainment", we need to really take a look at ourselves as well for playing our part in all this because there's no supply without demand.
At some point or another, we've all indulged in it. Whether it was someone in the limelight or someone at work, there'll always be people we don't like for whatever reason and once you find anyone who feels the same way, the clique mentality takes root. And then bullying isn't usually far behind and this is the harsh truth that we need to confront. No one is OK with bullying when we call it that outright, people will actively campaign against it but we will do these kinds of mental gymnastics to tell ourselves that certain victims deserve it and ergo, we are totally OK with bullying if we can justify it. This right here is why I'm writing this piece because if we can't collectively address the issue then the tabloids and the gossip magazines will simply move on to someone else and the process begins anew. We have to address the role we played in this and decide we're not going to allow those who peddle this business to stay in business.
I'm not saying we should all stop being critical of one another and be all luvvie-duvvie and hug a tree or whatever but as we're becoming more and more socially conscious of mental health we need to start putting some of that understanding into practice. We need to deal a little more kindly with one another. We need to identify when a person is vulnerable and at risk and, rather than kicking them when they're down, reach out and see they get the treatment they need to right themselves. We're at the junction now where these absolute rags of newspapers have shown us who they are and it's now time for us to show them who we are and what we're going to do about it. So don't buy their newspapers, don't buy into their little schemes and just try to be excellent to one another.
The vicious cycle can only end with our say-so.