viernes, 15 de enero de 2016

David Bowie - Social media has been gripped by the worst case of mourning sickness for 20 years. - The important thing is the public act of mourning, the spectacle.


by Patrick West

It wasn’t quite as insufferable as ‘after Diana’, but it’s the closest equivalent we’ve had since 1997. David Bowie’s death shocked us all, and it was as unexpected as that of the People’s Princess. So it’s no surprise that it should have elicited a comparable response – only amplified ad nauseam in the age of social media and instant connectivity.

The sudden news of Bowie’s death sent the nation and the world into emotional convulsions. There were the same drunken eulogies and declarations of ‘grief’, the same hyperbole about ‘things never being the same again’, the sepulchral howling and emotionally attached BBC reporting, and, amid the gaseous exaltations, a total loss of proportion. According to various sources, Bowie single-handedly paved the path for our sexually tolerant society, inspired space exploration (because ‘Space Oddity’ was in no way about drugs), and helped to bring about the collapse of the Berlin Wall. He was a unique Renaissance man. He was the first hipster. He was gender-fluid and ‘trans’ before Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner. He was the first pop star and he will be the last. I’m only surprised the BBC didn’t claim that David Bowie created the NHS or invent the hovercraft.

Now, as then, there were the naysayers. These cynics claimed that all such recreational grief and competitive blubbering was phoney attention-seeking, a symptom of a desire, created by a fragmented society, to belong to something larger. ‘This is NOTHING to do with Bowie’, tweeted Camilla Long of The Sunday Times. ‘This is to do with the utter insincerity of social-media grief.’ Julie Burchill accused the mob of ‘sob signalling’. As with many post-Diana counter-reactionaries, Burchill contrasted the wailing for a dead celebrity with real, intimate grief – something she has experienced, having lost her son last year.

Most of what we heard and read came from Generation X, those 30- to 60-year-olds who run the media and who are the most prolific mainstream social-media users. And if the reaction to Bowie’s death was concocted or cynical, it is something to be ridiculed, or at least looked in to. But the truth may be even worse. Generation X’s lachrymose response was probably sincere, in all it’s sickly woe and sixth-form poetry.

Otherwise sensible, rational people my age were all over social media openly confessing to crying upon hearing the news of Bowie’s death. He represented their childhood, their adolescence. He was the man whose music they first made love to. A common, perverse, comment was ‘I thought he’d never die’, while a bystander in Brixton told a BBC reporter that ‘Bowie literally saved my life’. We could all afford a sneer at the Diana ghouls those years back because they were vulgar, Daily Mail-reading housewives, simple foreigners or harmless old grannies. But this week we had the urban sophisticates of Generation X carrying on like a 15-year-old Morrissey on a really bad day. I’m old and David Bowie dying just proves it!


Michael Hallihane

Well said re the Bowie sobfest. There is no more cringeworthy sight than witnessing grown ups behaving like adolescents. Displaying your emotions in public has become a means of expressing solidarity. A communal outpouring of faux grief has becoming a way of expressing public togetherness and connectivity. It seems it is irrelevant whether the grief or sadness is genuine and heartfelt or not. The important thing is the public act of mourning, the spectacle.

The participants in this sobfest are left looking like poseurs. If you want to shed a tear do so privately at home. At least that is genuine. The public spectacle of grief for a pop star is a charade. And of course we are all mortal so all of us will experience real grief one day if we haven't already when those closest to us pass away. Some perspective is needed.


Author defends Diana criticism

Diana: accused of being self-indulgent and infantile

A philosophy professor who branded Diana, Princess of Wales, as a muddled, self-obsessed woman who damaged the monarchy, her children and herself, has defended his criticisms.

Anthony O'Hear said the Princess symbolised attitudes which were widespread in modern Britain.

He added: "The sort of attitudes I mean are the elevation of feeling over reason, self-expression over discipline, self esteem over objective duty.

"Above all, a sense of oneself as a victim, of not being responsible for what one is and what one has become."

"Faking It - The Sentimentalisation of Modern Society" denounces "fake Britain" which has abandoned reason in favour of cheap sentimentality.

The book is published on Friday by the right-wing think-tank, the Social Affairs Unit.

Editors Professor O'Hear and Anglican clergyman Peter Mullen depict a Britain where politics, arts, religion and even eating habits are dominated by self-indulgence and hollow emotion.

"Today's Britain is not 'modern', let alone `cool'. It is a fake society with fake institutions," write the editors.

"The society's defining moment was Princess Diana's funeral, in which sentimentality - mob grief - was personified and canonised, the elevation of feelings above reason, reality and restraint."

Friends and admirers of the princess have denounced the book, describing it as distasteful and inappropriate.

'Duty absent'

Professor O'Hear maintains Diana was a woman who "lacked understanding of her public role" and says that the rest of the Royal Family had to put up with her "childlike self-centredness".

He writes: "In the Diana story, duty is a notion which is entirely absent."

He concedes that Diana did good through her charity work, but says even that was driven largely by sentimentality.


No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario