25 August 2011

Throat-Punch Thursday: Publicly Celebrating Death

It's Throat-Punch Thursday again!

Second in the ongoing series (*preen* I remembered the word. Take that, sleep deprivation!) in which I throw a metaphorical punch at the throat of jerkwads and douchecanoes alike.

In today's edition, I give my pony some BC Bud and he gets really really high. I don't even attempt to get off of him. So here goes: Oh for the love of God people, would you stop publicly celebrating when someone you don't like dies?! Would a throat-punch convince you? Just nod your head, because I don't understand those choking noises.

When I first started this post, last Friday, I was thinking about Jonathan Bacon. By all accounts, a criminal, a gangster, a genuinely nasty piece of work. If you're happy he's dead, by all means, throw a little party, drink a bottle of champagne, whatever, but STFU about it in public, wouldja? Did you know he has a sister? A lovely woman who had nothing to do with his and his brothers' crimes. A woman who remembers her brother when he was a child, playing games. How do you think she feels to hear people literally celebrate his death? Do the feelings of anyone matter? I'll make an exception for his victims and their families. If you're Ed Schellenberg's family, for example, you get a pass. Though, honestly, it doesn't seem to be the victims and families. It appears to be random joes. People who are just happy that the world is rid of another gangster. And like I said, GO TO IT. Just shut your hole in public.

But since that time, Jack Layton, an even more public figure, has died. Jack was a good man, but many people really hated him because they're partisan hacks with a deep-seated fear of the kind of compassion that Jack espoused. They fear the idea of having to get by with a little less so that some people might have a little more. Or, maybe they just didn't like the guy. All of us have people who don't like us, even if we're good people. And so, out came the horrible commentary from the likes of Christie Blatchford and the snarky, crass tweets from Dave Naylor, a city editor for The Calgary Sun. Nasty, rude, mean words about a man who just tried to do his best for the country and all the people in it. Not just the rich ones. Not just the ones who run oil companies. Not just the ones who could help him get re-elected. Not just the ones who go to church. Not just the white ones. All of us. And what does his family get? Public, national exposure, of this vitriol. Even on the day of his death, they could read in a syndicated column, what an asshole their loved one was in the eyes of that writer and her ilk.

I admit, I didn't always agree with him. I didn't always like him. So bloody what? I also don't always agree with my Mom, and I love her. My blog gets an average of 20 hits per day. It's pretty unlikely that any of Jack's closest personal friends were reading. And I still took out the negativity when I realized how assholish it was. She's revelling in it. And Jonathan Kay is calling it courageous? Courageous? No. That's not courage. Courage would be admitting to a following of right-wingers that no, actually, he wasn't such a bad guy. Even if one didn't agree with him.

I'm not saying put on a fake spectacle of grief, like when the assclown of a jock at your highschool died because he was car surfing while drunk - the same guy who threw smaller kids into lockers and made a hobby out of sexual harassment - and you told the press how he was such a great guy and everyone loved him. No no. Just be quiet. Or I'll make ya. With my throat-punching fist.

And you know, I understand the emotion. I do. I remember when a certain right-wing politician died how pleased I was to have humanity rid of him. I was truly pleased. But I was alone in my house. I didn't do it publicly. I didn't have a nationally syndicated newspaper column in which I called him "gimlet-eyed". And I didn't personally tell thousands of his mourners that their public grieving of his death was a ridiculous spectacle. I shut up and smiled a little wider that day. And it hurt no one.