What happened to dignity and respect ?
Posted by Big John on June 14, 2007
In a TV news report the other evening a grieving mother was interviewed shortly after the death of her baby in a house fire. It was impossible to hear her reponse to the ‘how do you feel’ type questions as the poor woman was completely distraught with grief.
After a few minutes of showing this woman’s suffering, the view switched to a shot of her burned out house and the camera lingered on the flowers and cuddly toys which had been left outside on the fence.
This kind of reporting is now quite common in this country as are the displays of what has become known as ‘recreational grief’ or ‘grief-lite’. This has been taken to the extreme in the tragic case of Madeleine McCann, although in this instance her parents have encouraged all the media attention, in the belief that it will help in the search for their daughter. Let us hope that they are right.
I suppose that I am old fashioned when it comes to personal tragedy and grieving. I’m not exactly the ‘stiff upper lip’ type, but I do believe that such matters are private and should be handled with dignity and respect.
I have to wonder why the TV news channels think that we want to see weeping, incoherent people when they are at their most vulnerable; and why some people now feel the need to build a ‘shrine’ at the scene of the death of someone, who is probably a complete stranger ?
The ‘think tank’ Civitas published a report under the title ‘Conspicuous Compassion’, which argued that what seem to be public signs of caring are part of a culture of ostentatious caring which is about feeling good, not doing good; of projecting one’s ego and thereby showing others what a deeply caring individual you are.
The intrusive TV coverage of a family’s mourning is not something that I ever want to see, but then neither would I wish to see again, a young mother handing her toddler a bunch of flowers and pushing him towards the cameraman as he focuses on all those …
… teddy bears and balloons hanging from that fence.