how to lose friends

I don’t normally blog like this and can’t imagine any time soon when I’ll blog like this again.  If you’ve ever read a post here before you’ll know that I’m usually WAY more self-absorbed and droney.  Don’t worry though.  There’ll be a bit of that working its way in somewhere, I’m sure.

After reading a wrinkled edition of the Sunday Independent which was sitting on a table around my gym swimming pool, a whirl of things began stirring in my brain and I had to come back and write.

Yesterday lunchtime, I first read about the full magnitude of the Norwegian massacre online.  In a tweet I saw a death toll number around 80 higher than I had thenceforth known.  I browsed to the BBC website and froze, involuntarily emitted a Fuck Me, and felt sick.  The accounts and the images were horrifying.

All day I was haunted by my own imagined version of what it must have been like.  Thinking other, lighter things felt wrong; seeing one of the many Stag or Hen groups laughing raucously in the Cardiff high streets felt distasteful.  What had happened was awful in the most unadulterated sense. One of the most frightening things of all was that this was not a mindless attack.  It was a highly planned and comprehensively considered event backed by a range of attitudes and beliefs.  Anders Behring Breivik had long held white supremacist views and ideas, incomprehensible as they may be to most.

Spare a thought too – whatever that thought might be, for Breivik’s lawyer, and the family of his lawyer.  What torment must they be experiencing?  It seems preposterous to think he’s going through with the case, just as it was shocking to think he didn’t turn the gun on himself after doing what he did.

*

Having not much to do other than mull the horror and drip-feed myself coverage, I went to the cinema to watch a goofy comedy, Horrible Bosses, and try to forget.  The film was average.

On returning I saw news of Amy Winehouse’s death.  Over the course of a few hours people on the internet did a weird thing.  There appeared to be an escalation of people being outraged.  The accusation, as I understand it, is that there were people (though I didn’t see any of them) suggesting or perhaps explicitly saying that you weren’t allowed or shouldn’t be upset by Amy’s death because the events in Norway were much more upsetting.  This sparked a massive furore of people being utterly furious that they shouldn’t be dictated to in such a manner.  I wondered if they started to secretly enjoy their moral high ground a tiny bit too much.

Firstly: ok, yes, sure.  The grading of grief is crass, callous and massively unnecessary.  People can be simultaneously sad about a number of things, just as they can be happy about a number of things.

But more than this: wake the fuck up, dozy internet people.  If you have a few hundred Facebook friends, or if you follow up to a thousand or more people on Twitter, it’s not improbable that one or two will be outspoken and talk shite.  Don’t get all wet and vomit self-righteous vitriol everywhere about it.  Chill out.  Shrug.  Unfollow or Unfriend, if you want.   This social internet we have gives unfettered access to the views of lots of people.  Most of the time we like this.  When big emotive things happen, you’re probably not going to like all of those views.

I wonder if the reaction was so strong and notable because most folk are used to others agreeing with their own views.  So much in today’s social web is driven by didactic commentary pieces about how best to look or behave or act in certain situations.  It irritates me immensely, how presumptuous and preachy much of it is.  Fuck off.  I’ll do what I want, thanks.

I wish I could be more tolerant of people, both generally in real life and in my pockets of social communities.  I could develop larger communities of people, more friends on Facebook and followers through various different Twitter sites, if I could tolerate people spouting what I consider to be utter fucking drivel.  And there is loads of that.  I just can’t do it.  Therefore I’m a quiet little tool with about two unique visitors a month.  No biggie.  I’m not bothered.  Don’t even check it much.  It’s fine.

Which brings me, in a contrived meandering fashion, back to Anders Behring Breivik.

Whaddya know, he was a loner!  As pretty much all mass murderers always are.  Us loners getting smeared once again.  The article I read sitting around the pool highlighted several times in the main profile how he was a loner without many friends.  I wish I’d counted the number because it would have been lots.  Well, at least six.  It added nothing but appeared to want to drill this point home, quite absurdly.  In future mass killings can we just take it for granted that this is the case, unless it’s very obviously not?  If the murderer is a fun-loving family man with loads of mates, that’s probably noteworthy.  Otherwise: yep, loner, mum loved him, end of.  It’s funny how your pals always tend to desert you when you commit mass atrocities.

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