Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tragedy and tastelessness

I haven't written about the evil that struck Virginia Tech yesterday. I have opinions but, just like all the newscasters, commentators and politicians who immediately jumped in to pontificate, I don't really know what the hell I'm talking about.

I can't ignore the aftermath, however. Some parents of VT students have called for the college's president to resign because he didn't do enough to prevent/stop the murders of 32 students and the suicide of the perpetrator.

I say he should be fired, too, but for a different reason: the man is clearly too stupid, tasteless and insensitive to hold any post more complex than burrito-wrapping. Why? Because anyone with the slightest sense of decency knows better than to start babbling about "beginning the healing process" and "gaining some closure (what an awful word that is!)" when some of those killed have not yet been positively identified.

Grief takes time. Mourning, raging and weeping are integral parts of loss, particularly when it occurs in such horrific circumstances. And dealing with them is a gradual process. To put a one-day time limit on them -- as this fool did by scheduling a "colloquium"-cum-memorial-service for this afternoon is asinine and damaging. Cut off the process and people become shallow and desensitized, or at best push down their grief, never a healthy thing.

The college president's speech at said "colloquium" was a weird mixture of expressing pain and pumping up the next speaker, Virginia's governor. The governor's speech was even stranger, part rah-rah "we can get over this," part old-time preacher-man and part political stump speech. Listening to it, I got the distinct impression he wasn't entirely certain where he was.

In fact, the only speaker who showed the slightest sense of taste and appropriateness was, amazingly enough, George Bush. For once, he was simple and human. Especially when contrasted with the two blowhards who preceded him at the podium.

When an event of sheer, unimaginable evil takes place, the aftermath is always bad enough. There is inevitable political posturing, demands that heads roll, second-guessing and Monday-morning quarterbacking, and ceaseless nauseating "commentary."

Why we have to further cheapen tragedy by inflicting new-age "closure," premature "healing" and grandstanding on the survivors is completely beyond me. Loss does not vanish overnight.


John said...

The opportunists come out of the wood work. The news is full of opinions from Italy everywhere else. It's beyond comprehension

lowandslow said...

You're right. Fingers will be pointed and heads will roll. And what will change, really? Nothing. Healing will happen in time, and you can't rush time.

AngryNight said...

Rarely do acts of such staggering stupidity occur.

Anonymous said...

I do respect you so much for not writing opinions unless you are informed, that way I can trust what you say, and I do.
VTech :( even if you are not informed,
Responsible journalists, :)

Justfly said...

It is a horrible situation to speak about. I almost feel sorry for those that are pressured to say something to the public, when really nothing is going to sound correct. There is no practice for this kind of tragedy.

betty said...

I agree. Healing takes time and for some, maybe never. :(

Anonymous said...

Well said Scribbs.
I absolutely and detest hate what our culture and the media does to tragedies like this.
We hear about it ad nauseam, package it like a prime time movie, and destroy every bit of meaning and depth.
I appreciate someone who says, "no comment". It usually means they're a thoughtful person and not given to spouting clich├ęs...