Know Your Meme
When Lou Reed died, there wasn't so much commotion in the internet, as I unfortunely predicted. I did a wallpaper tributing him, but I don't remember of seeing a lot else more. I cannot say this is the way he may have wanted it, but it might be so: he has always been a proud underground artist, and he didn't want to please anyone but himself. Months have passed, and I recieved the news of the death of Paul Walker: the blond former cop of "The Fast and The Furious" franchise. It was one of the most classic celebrity deaths that there is: dying in the passenger seat of a friend's car (it was like that Ryan Dunn died).
My sister - always with this belief of being eloquent -, has declared his death to be karmatic: he "paid" for all the deaths caused by illegal racing across the world that may have been inspired by the films. In that case, watch out, Rockstar Games: you're next.
Jokes apart, I honestly felt sorry for his passing: as talented as he was - and I don't mean that as an irony, for I've taught his acting to be economic instead of overblown -, Walker was never really a big name in Hollywood, maybe because his name became too much associated with such films, which in their turn, didn't hold the best regards of critics and "elite" audiences (please, do mind the quotes). And because of that, the grief that Paul Walker's death generated is receiving a surprising backlash in the internet. I know: the internet can be very vile and repulsive, and cases like that are not rare. But this particular case is that people are mentioning hunger and death from all around the world, condemning the griefers for not realizing the world around us has indeed much bigger things to get worried with (and ironically enough, he died while coming back from a charity event for the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines that he organized). While this line of taught is not necessarely wrong - for I would be uncorfortable to know people would stop living because of my possible death - there's a difference between griefing for someone you love or cared about to forget the world around you. I, from my part, became devasted when I heard of the deaths of John Hughes and Adam "MCA" Yauch. But once again, I realized life must go on: I did some wallpapers tributing then, just like I went to do with Lou Reed. And I resumed my life, knowing the world has much bigger problems than their absence from it.
But that's not really my point.
The point is that some people can be really hypocritic not to citate this line of taught to other dead celebrities. They didn't pull this speech against people such as Steve Jobs, because those have a "higher level of respect" than an actor mostly famous for being in "The Fast and The Furious" films.
Some people receive more respect than others, and even in death, this is reflected. Not just on a matter of one person, but also on a more... collective matter. Let me give you a basic example: if you constantly read Wikipedia like I do, you will notice in the "In The News" area of the main page that mass killings in the Middle East, Africa and some points of Asia are quite common. We're not talking about a couple of deaths: we are talking about dozens of people who lose their lives almost every month. But these cases do not win the front pages of the world, because these are "third world people". When there was that terrorist strike in Madrid
, killing dozens of people... the world felt greatly sympathetic with their lost. Why then they don't feel this same sympathy with the losts caused by other terrorist strikes around the world? I tell you why: because Somalia is not Spain, and people in the first world could care less about terrorists as long as they stay doing what they do in their turfs. Can anything be more hypocritic? Can anyone be like this? That joke you heard in "Family Guy" is true: some deaths "are not news" depending of who the dead were, and from where they came from. In a way, a person who is insensitive about all the globe's mass murders is not as bad as someone who just care when this happens only in First World countries.
Any attempt against collective innocent human lives is deplorable, no matter where it is.
Nelson Mandela dedicated his life in bringing equality to a country devasted by the Apartheid. He knew more than most the value of human freedom, and how people do not deserve to be segregated by a matter of skin, culture or origins. He was a great hero who endured 27 years in jail
, and his death at age 95 stopped the routine of very sensitive world leaders.
On the other hand, the death of Margaret Thatcher (who I liked, but once called Mandela a "terrorist") was received with widespread joy by thousands of Britons. Remember Michael Jackson? His death was like something of a draw in the sand. People were making both jokes with some consideration for the king of Pop (some of them genuine fans with a sense of humour: you can tell they would love "Always Look at The Bright Side of the Life" at their funerals)... but others made jokes almost like celebrating his death.
It was like that with one smartassed writter
that decided to make fun of Paul's decidely ironic death like a triumph. She taught that she was hitting a universal string in mocking him, calling him a douchebag (because nothing says "douche" more than organizing an event helping people who had their lives devasted). She taught her feelings were a common ground. And as I said, there's a difference between making a joke about someone's death and to celebrate it, without any concideration for the victim. As a result, she was overwhelmed with death treats and offenses - some of them worthy of Wu-Tang Clan's lyrics. Now, she's on suicide watch. Far it be from me accepting what people did to her, but she should have known better what the internet is. She was lead to believe what she was writting was something people were going to warmily accept because of the reputation of "The Fast and the Furious" films... but she crossed a line.
Paul's death is actually eye opening about how people treat death and mortality with condescendence: they mock the people who genuinely felt for his death but they obviously would feel the same for the deaths of people they care about, some of them maybe pulling the speech of "but I'm different! I don't cry for celebrities". I don't neither... but I don't put down people who would. They should realize the world is much bigger than just one person, and that life goes on. But of course they are allowed to grief for the death of their beloved ones.
Such a hateful action to condemn grief.