Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nothing is Sacred. Not Even Death.

Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014
Remember when there were certain things you didn't do simply because you were taught to respect it? Yeah, some of you probably don't. My generation is the blame for that. My generation is the one that decided to let kids raise themselves. We are the generation that decided that schools should be solely responsible for teaching our kids because we're too tired. We give them smartphones/tablets to allow kids to be in their own world because we don't want them disrupting ours.

Because of that, nothing is sacred.

To let you get an idea of how far our level of respect for almost anything has declined, I'll use the following example that most kids born 1975 and earlier (especially minorities) may be familiar with: in my house when I was a child we had furniture in a certain room that we were not allowed to use. There was a couch in the living room that my parents said was for "company only." I wasn't even allowed in the room without a good reason. That couch was deemed sacred and I don't recall ever setting my butt on it before it got older and was given away to a needy family. I respected it because my parents taught me to respect it. Regardless of how silly it may have been it taught me something.  It taught me restraint.  It taught me to respect something that was not necessarily important to my life simply because someone else had an appreciation for it.

Over time and due to the lack of actual parenting, more things have lost its sacredness. Elders are no longer respected. Presidents are no longer respected. Religions are no longer respected. But, the one thing that I always thought would remain sacred can be added to that list: speaking ill or making fun of the dead.

At one time people only felt comfortable with criticizing or insulting the dead based on either how long ago the person died (hence the phrase "too soon?") or if the person died doing something illegal or stupid (Darwin Awards). Now there are no moral restrictions on insulting or criticizing any one regardless of when they died, cause of death, or even the stature of the person who died.

Today I read quite a few disrespectful memes and jokes on the death of author / motivational speaker, Maya Angelou. I even came across a columnist who trashed Maya Angelou as a person on a blog site.

As a blogger, I can't tell people not to have an opinion simply because it differs from mine. I want people to speak their minds because some things just need to be said. But, why just hours after her death? Why post jokes almost immediately? Why demonize her (or anyone else for that matter) when the grieving has just started?

I'll tell you why: because it's more satisfying (to some) to be funny and/or popular than it is respectful.

Social media entices people to do things that will make other people take notice. All of us with strong opinions push the envelope or cross the line at some point. I've crossed the line myself on many topics, I'm sure. Maybe not maliciously, but it's still crossing the line to get a reader's attention.

But I never posted a meme or a blog post insulting or criticizing someone who died. Because to me that would be the equivalent of putting muddy shoes on my mom's couch in that living room I mentioned earlier.  There are still some things in this world that I will deem as "sacred" even if no one else will.  And a person's death is one of them.

What do you think about the level of disrespect you see online all for the sake of being funny/popular?


  1. What I have come to understand and recognize is that people will show you who they are, it is up to us to pay attention.


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