I know that the ease with which we can vomit up our opinions all over the place online–I’m doing it now! How meta!–means we sometimes almost feel like we have to tell everyone our opinion on absolutely everything under the sun, but I really wish that sometimes we would just…go knit or something instead.
Take, for instance, the death of Amy Winehouse. Now, she hasn’t put out an album in roughly five years, which means that in modern day attention spans she blinked out of existence about four years and ten months ago. Other than a few blips on the public consciousness when she showed up somewhere looking a bit scraggly or didn’t finish a performance, no one really much was concerned with her. And indeed, her death would be unlikely to matter much to the general public if it wasn’t for the ‘amusing’ coincidence that she once sang a song with the lyrics “They tried to make me go to rehab, I said ‘no, no, no'” and died while in possession of more than a few pills.*
But, dear fuck, let a rehab joke start trending on Twitter and suddenly everyone and their brother has to announce whether or not they are sympathetic regarding her death. And naturally, since it is easier to be “funny” with a joke about how she should have gone to rehab than it is to say, “it always sucks when someone dies so young, even if they were instrumental in that death–that’s a shame, her poor family”, that’s what the majority of people go with.
Honestly, I don’t believe people were generally nicer “back in the day”–I just think that now that everyone feels they have to expose their assholish comments every which way but loose, it looks like everyone is far more cold-hearted than we tended to assume. I kind of wish people would hush up a little bit, so we can go back to thinking that the people around us are more inclined towards sympathy than not.
*Pro tip: The “joke” of saying that she should have gone to rehab has been made. Many,many, many, many times. If you think you’re being clever and witty, you’re wrong. Stop it. It isn’t unfunny because it is “too soon”. It isn’t funny because it is unoriginal and more than a little crass. If you want to be incisively amusing, work harder or shut your trap until you learn how it’s done.