kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Pass as human)
[personal profile] kleenexwoman
I don't really care that much when other people express strong emotions about things I don't share, I guess, but I really dislike it when I feel that I'm expected to join in.

Grief is a biggie for me. I hate attending funerals of people I don't know. I'd certainly be upset if an actor or a writer I liked died, but if someone whose work I don't particularly care about dies, I can't muster much more than a "Huh, that's too bad" most of the time. Now, this should be fine, but it does strike me as weird when people cry at me about it, and I go, "I didn't know you were a fan of them," and they go, "I wasn't, but it's SO TRAGIC." Do you get teary when a co-worker's relative dies and they have to go to the funeral? Do you mist up reading the obituaries? Maybe you do because you are that tender-hearted of a soul, but I do not think most people do.

It's especially weird when people go, "Oh, man, I'm so sad X died, now we'll never get another movie from them," and other people go "STOP BEING SELFISH, YOUR THOUGHTS SHOULD BE WITH THEIR FAMILY." The only reason you care about this person is because they made movies or songs or books you liked. You may have become a fan of their personality, you may have even met them, but you would never have known they existed and thus been able to be sad about their deaths if you hadn't liked the way they made art. That was your relationship to them, fan to idol. Why shouldn't you mourn their creations forever unveiled? Why shouldn't you mourn them in a way that's appropriate to how you knew them, if that's how you feel?

Recently, the royal baby thing has been fucking weird, because there are people talking about it all the fuck over the place and women talking about it at work, and one lady asked me if I was happy, and I said, "I don't really care. We're not an English commonwealth--in fact, we kind of seceded--so it's got nothing to do with me." She got mad and said, "Well, if you don't care about the future king, you can at least care that there's a happy and healthy baby in the world." I said I hated babies and went to eat my salad. Then I thought of a much better thing to say :/ L'esprit d'escalier.

If you're bringing this down to that human and common of a level, what's the point? A guy I know posted on his Facebook on the date of the baby's birth, "Shaniqua Johnson gave birth to a healthy baby boy in a Harlem hospital last night. There was no news coverage." If you're trying to make people care just because there's a baby, why don't you care about Shaniqua Johnson's baby? The only reason you know who these people are or what they are doing is because they are royalty. If you care about royalty, that's lovely, I'm certainly not going to debate you on how important the British crown is or what you should care about. But if you think I should care about the baby even if I don't care about royalty, what else are you ignoring?

tl;dr Feel whatever you feel about whatever you want, but don't get mad at me when I don't join in. Thx.
(deleted comment)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-25 04:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kleenexwoman.livejournal.com
A news writer I used to babysit for wrote this article (http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130725/LIFESTYLE/307250031/Detroit-baby-shares-birthday-new-royal-not-path?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cp), which is about a Detroit couple that gave birth the same day as the Duchess. This kid will probably affect my life more, seeing as he's in the same metropolitan area as me and I might run into him some day. Anyway, it absolutely made my day.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-28 08:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anivad.livejournal.com
"I've never understood the hysteria that the passing away of so called celebrities causes."

because they might have impacted your life in a deep way: given hope, given inspiration, brought friends together, their works given joy and entertainment through times of struggle, sometimes even the will to live. and if not to you, personally, then to many others - because that's what happens when someone gets famous. their lives and influence spread wide. and when they die, there's a void created.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-25 07:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neverreal.livejournal.com
Yeah, my mum likes to bring up sad things she's heard on the news with me but, if I let myself care about every single person dying to the point that I cry, then I'm just going to feel even worse than I do all the time.

I live in a Commonwealth country and I still don't give a fig about the baby. I actually didn't even care when my sister-in-law had a baby (which I do feel guilty about especially as I still don't care about him except in the sense that my mum cares about him). I actually get disproportionately angry about knowing when a celebrity has a baby or what they've called it. I don't even care about celebrity couples that much.

In short, this post speaks to me.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-25 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kleenexwoman.livejournal.com
I actually enjoy it when celebrity couples give their kids weird names, but that's about it. Could care less if they have babies. I might have been interested if THE ROYAL BABY had a cool archaic name like Aethelbert, but they gave him a boring name I don't even remember.

I think it's pretty OK not to care much if a relative you don't really see has a kid. Honestly, I can't connect with babies much--when the kids are older, I start to care, because either they're an interesting person or a pain in the ass (OK, sometimes both). But I guess I don't have any instinctive interest in babies.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-27 10:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] neverreal.livejournal.com
Oh, yeah, I do enjoy that too, actually! And I enjoy how angry people get over the weird names.

Yeah, my brother was in the arm when I was a child so I didn't see him much from birth to age four and then not AT ALL for eight years and even after that he still lived interstate for a long time. So it's really hard for me to connect to him as a brother, I think. Er, sorry - but, yeah, I don't have any instinctive interest in babies, either.

I'm also really glad I'm not a baby or small child now because the thought of hundreds of baby photos of me online, done without my permission, makes me feel weird but that's a whole other thing than what we're talking about here.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-25 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eilidhsd.livejournal.com
I'd be scared to say this out loud, but on a course recently one of the guys talked about "grief-surfing" and "emotional snot" and I think those terms well cover the distaste I feel at some of the outpourings of grief over the deaths of strangers.

We see it here after accidents, when people who have not known the victim, turn up with flowers and wail publicly.

I'd always just assumed that I was too repressed, but I think the guy on the course summed it up well, and I think your attitude is the healthy one.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-25 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kleenexwoman.livejournal.com
"Grief-surfing" is a GREAT phrase.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-26 12:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chiosayshi.livejournal.com
The obsession with the "royal baby" is mind boggling. Why do people care so much!!? So annoying.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-26 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kleenexwoman.livejournal.com
I have no idea. Especially Americans. The British Royal Family seems like the last remaining vestige of some kind of fairytale we have some connection to, maybe?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-26 03:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mayamaia.livejournal.com
Sometimes in these circumstances, the way the robots choose to feel is the more genuine. Because the whole celebrity thing hinges on an image that is still just an image, and much of the adoration is in people trying to imagine that they belong somewhere in it. It will never work, there is no personal connection to celebrities unless you talk with them, and if there is any connection to be made it is through their art.

Which makes me a bit weirded out that when I read up on King Hussein of Jordan the other day I started to cry when I got to the bit about Israel betraying agreements. It was the most tenuous of connections: his great-uncle's friend's memoirs for goodness sake, but suddenly I recognized the same thing Lawrence had described about Feisal protecting guests who had killed his friends in this grandson of Abdullah warning his betrayers about the coming Yom Kippur war. I don't know these people, I don't know why I cried except through the voice of one poet long dead.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-26 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kleenexwoman.livejournal.com
*hugs* Actually, that's very sweet, I think. I don't think it's weird. You recognized a connection to something you do truly care about, and the legacy of a family whose lives you were invested in, even through just reading about them through someone else's eyes, in a moment that got to you. That is touching.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-26 05:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mayamaia.livejournal.com
Which is very much the purpose of the art of memoir. It takes these things, events and people, which others might never have reason to care about and brings those others to a point at which they care from the same perspective as the author instead of themselves.

I doubt anyone could do that for you and the royal baby, but in a much feebler manner, it is the same thing you obnoxious acquaintances are attempting to do.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-28 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anivad.livejournal.com
I've been generally bemused over the whole royal baby thing. two fertile heterosexual cis people had sex and it made a baby. news at 11. But at the same time, I can understand people being excited over it, or any other trivial thing. Sometimes it's precisely because it's trivial that we latch onto it, sort of as escapism from the bigger stuff going on around. it's a brief respite from the crap of the world, and harping on about it is sort of a way to make it last. and babies are about new life, symbolising new hope and new beginnings; plus, for people who will one day be ruled by the kid, they're probably also invested in just what kind of person he's going to turn out to be, because that's going to eventually impact their lives.

"That was your relationship to them, fan to idol. Why shouldn't you mourn their creations forever unveiled? Why shouldn't you mourn them in a way that's appropriate to how you knew them, if that's how you feel? "

thiiis. not to mention that it's often a lot more sincere and honest, than if you were to express grief for how their family - which you may not know anything about - might be feeling. that would just feel hollow and fake to me and better left unsaid unless you actually knew them personally. whereas a celebrity's work - and what you know of them as a person - may have changed your life in a positive way, and it's a good reason to feel sad when the person responsible for that positivity is no longer around.

for me, when a celebrity I don't care much about dies, my immediate thoughts are for their fans. after the news of Cory Monteith's death first broke, I googled his name and one of the first results was for a fansite last updated 6 days ago, all happy excited news about his new projects, never even suspecting that in less than a week he would be dead. and seeing that affected me really bad: knowing that those webmasters were going to wake up, perhaps get onto the internet expecting funtimes in fandom, and then have the news hit them. and maybe at first they might think it's a joke, because that's happened - Keanu death hoaxes keep happening to the point I go 'meh' whenever I hear that his immortal self has allegedly died again.
only this time it wouldn't be a joke, and they'll be waiting for a punchline that never comes. and thinking of that made me really upset.

(it also gutted me that his last tweet - allegedly 12 minutes before his death - was, "oh. IT'S A SHARK TORNADO!")

There was a point when I actually did read newspaper obituaries for reason I can't remember, and while most of the time it was old people who had lived long and fulfilling lives, every now and then it would be a young person who died too soon, and I'd end up wondering about them, how they died, what kind of person they were, and it would make me sad. or news articles about the same - once there was a article about a suicide case who jumped in front of a train. I later found out that he was actually one of my friend's cousins, and I never knew the guy - my friend wasn't even that close to him - but I got really upset for a while because he ceased to be a statistic and became another human, evidently one who had been in enough distress to want to take his own life, who never received the help he needed, and I remember being in that position even though I was lucky enough to get out of it.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-29 03:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kleenexwoman.livejournal.com
For people who are going to be ruled by the kid...yeah. I can understand taking an interest. I appreciate trivial and happy things as much as the next person, but...the article I linked in the comments above meant more to me, I guess, because it was a spotlight on someone random whose child might be anything, and there didn't seem to be any push to care besides "yes, these are people." Going nuts over a baby just because it's royal if it's not your king seems very artificial. I honestly don't think people care about the baby, they care about the fairytale that doesn't exist, and that's what bugs me. I read a "People" magazine at the drugstore today that mostly focused on how the kid would grow up with all of these British celebrities fawning over it and how Kate Middleton was buying it designer cribs. Lifestyle porn, basically.

Feeling bad for the fans, yeah...it's like feeling bad for someone you know who lost someone. I guess I see a difference between that kind of sympathy and grief itself, though. I do feel bad for people who lost an idol, especially if it's a kid like that Cory person--that must have been upsetting. But I don't know anyone who is a fan of "Glee" to the point of grieving, so it passed me by. I wonder sometimes if I think I have a limited store of emotion and I have to parcel it out.

he ceased to be a statistic and became another human
Hugs. I don't know...I feel like if I let myself feel grief for people I don't know, I'd be burned out before long. I can barely stand feeling sad for people I do know who have passed. I fucking hate it.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-29 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] anivad.livejournal.com
oh yes! I previously read that article you linked; can't remember if it was through you or elsewhere, and I loved it.

You're right about the fairytale and lifestyle porn. I think it's basically a form of escapism, and just another instance of people trying to live vicariously through those with much better / wealthier / more luxurious lives than theirs, in this case the royal family and their baby. Like, they'd never be able to get designer cribs of their own, so the next best thing is to get that experience via Kate Middleton, and the more details they get, the fuller the experience.

"I feel like if I let myself feel grief for people I don't know, I'd be burned out before long"

yeah. I used to do that and I kept getting burned out, not just with deaths but just bad things happening to other people. It's the main reason I stopped hanging out at a lot of online LGBT (especially T) spaces, because it's full of depressing stories that made me feel really bad for those people and then I'd be completely drained at the end of it. I try to focus on the good stuff now instead, and it helps.

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