I’ve read a few professional trolling pieces in the papers and seen a fair bit of flak on Social Media, wherein people are confused, critical and derisory about the outpouring of public grief about Bowie.
Delingpole, Long and others wrote some very snide things, which are pretty reprehensible and opportunistic. Any nugget of a point tainted with Hopkins-Hubris, which sounds like, and is, a nasty and somewhat contagious disease.
Flying in the face of concensus will always get you an askance look, a newspaper column or an argument but – in principle – has great value. Concensus terrorism has been festering at the rotten heart of the music biz for some time now, where in if one doesn’t like Aphex/Beyonce/Oasis/TaylorSwift/cocaine etc, then one is WRONG.
But, but but, but, in 1997, there was (albeit hugely fanned) mass hysteria over DIana’s death and again in 2009 with Michael Jackson. I never understood that and, I’ll admit, I thought it strange and incomprehensible (to me) that people got that upset over people they didn’t know. I get a bit uncomfortable when everyone is feeling/sharing/aping the same emotions or opinions. Is it exclusion? I didn’t think so. I still don’t. Is there an element of British stiff-upper-lip, gentlemen-don’t-quiver Alec Guiness-in-Bridge-Over-The_river-Kwai-type dignity to it? Probably.
I wouldn’t be mean about them (publicly) but I thought it was the sort of thing that was a bit beneath me and that, while it was acceptable/understandable to be SAD and empathetic about such things, grief was a step up and something more the consequence of the end of a two-way relationship. A friend, family member or colleague. Is that emotional fascism? Maybe. I suppose we all draw our lines somewhere.
Maybe there’s a causal link that starts outside but has to make contact with something in particular within you. For example, I can track a lot of lack-of-grief over my estranged father dying last year into how I felt about Bowie’s death. I’ve also (previously) sometimes thought I was low on the feelings/empathy spectrum. Mebbe these things just unlock other dormant feelings, which someone may or may not have at any particular point. Mebbe if Bowie went before my father it wouldn’t have resonated quite as much. Mebbe, on a wider scale, Diana connected to people who were low on hope and (not to be overly dismissive) on the verge of tears anyway.
Whichever. Last Monday, I became one of “those people” – much to my own surprise and confusion. David Bowie meant a lot more to me than Diana or Jacko, of course, but I suppose to others, the situation is particular to them.
I’ll just need to get over that.
It seems we each have our triggers, revealed over time.
Human after all.