Death becomes us, on the internet


How fondly the dead are remembered.  For most people, but most especially the extraordinarily famous, their death becomes a celestial slate wiper.   No matter the circumstances of their demise – suicide, years of self-abuse, murder, or ‘natural causes’ – all sins are returned to the shadows as the internet comes alive with inconsolable grief.   Repeatedly, press, television, and the online kangaroo court known as Twitter, focus on all the good the deceased ever did, and can never do again.  In death, angels are born.

The living are not afforded such luxury.  Opportunistic photography, rumour, half-truths, implications, downright fabrications, accidents, mistakes, overheard conversations and the insatiable need of tittle-tattlers to believe every negative report, without the balance of investigation or the right to reply, potentially darken everyone’s character.  No one is safe, no one at all.

Underlying this is the ugly human subconscious, longing for a resultant corpse.  Humiliation, public condemnation, career destruction, the casting out of the evil from society – all partial successes, but to what end?  It’s only when the body turns up that shock sets in – answers are sought, blame is apportioned, many hands are washed clean.  The burning witch was not a witch after all.

But somewhere, there’s always, always a family, grieving.

Meanwhile, on the internet, the process keeps on going.



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