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The Grief Industry

Good time to be a florist?

By Michael BlairPublished 7 years ago 3 min read

On the evening of the Manchester bombing, there were several tweets of condolence from a variety of people. Some "celebrities" many of the public and some leading politicians.

I noticed a few tweets aimed at Theresa May. Why hadn't she immediately tweeted her shock, horror, disgust etcetera, when other politicians had already done so? I used Twitter to express my surprise that this had been raised by anyone, far less people who knew well enough that at that particular time, any Prime Minister would be otherwise engaged.

I was told by some people that this was typical Tory cold-hearted behaviour. Didn't care about the victims etcetera.

The severity of the bombing meant that she and her security advisors would be being briefed by MI5 and police about what had happened and what the response would be appropriate. I'm pretty sure tweeting anything was by far not the most important thing on her mind.

Eventually there was a Twitter response from her or her office when they had had time to take in the huge amount of information circulating at the time. The instant vilification unleashed from social media was ridiculous and inappropriate for the circumstances.

This was followed by the usual outpouring of public grief, both national and international. Vigils were held in dozens of countries and a variety of national monuments were lit up in the red white and blue of the British flag. Well except Scotland, where the SNP government lit up Edinburgh Castle in white light. God only knows what they were thinking about!

All the usual nonsense was spouted, Je suis Manchester etcetera appeared all over social media sites. Now, all this is expected every time a similar atrocity is committed against innocent people. What happened to quiet dignified grief? Does every bloody attack have to have a showbiz aspect before it's recognised as genuine?

I don't know about you, but I and many other people are utterly fed up with this kind of industrial grief. By all means pay your respects, but without the flashy and often false shows of condolence. People saying how much they love Manchester, when the majority have probably never been there and even more hadn't even heard of the city!

I find quiet reflection a far greater source of comfort in tragic circumstances. Knowing the horror of loss by sudden death myself, of a young person it is the most difficult to deal with and should not be trivialised by gaudy shows of support for a place unseen.

I think this excessive public grief was begun by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. At that point, grief became a public spectacle and private grief was pushed aside. Everyone had to say something. It all had to be in public. I found this very distasteful and in some cases plain disrespectful. I know some public figures love to be seen paying their respects, but I think that could be done in a more private way. Well away from the cameras.

Of course, when any tragic death takes place, there is always shock and disbelief, amongst neighbours, and friends. But why make other people rich from the buying of flowers? Why not put the money into a fund to help the family cope with the loss?

Whatever you decide, try to do something positive to help the people left behind rather than line the pockets of the floral businesses and supermarkets.

Politicians and celebrities are usually the first ones to complain about invasion of privacy, but are some of the first to let the world know how bad they feel about what has happened. The usual double standards for these people. The best thing they could do is save their grief for their friends and family if they have the misfortune to suffer tragic loss. They don't care about the poor people who died. But they do care about their public image.

Can you imagine the outrage if they didn't react? Their careers would melt away like *snaw aff a dyke!* They can't risk that. But if they really don't want to show public grief, they should not have to suffer because of taking that decision.

I felt utter revulsion at the news of the Manchester atrocity and still feel that for people behind this and the people who gain from these horrible events. But it doesn't stop me having an opinion on what has become The Grief Industry!

*snow off a dry stone wall* (Scots)

celebritieshumanitypoliticianssocial media

About the Creator

Michael Blair

I'm a medically retired grumpy Scotsman with a good sense of the ridiculous. I write some political satire and some more serious pieces. I'm here to wake people up!

On twitter I'm @mmjblair and email me at [email protected]

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