Monday, April 12, 2010

This Is How It Should Be Done

We drove by the Polish embassy this morning. It was covered in flowers and candles and flags and pictures of the those who perished in that terrible plane crash.

The outpouring of grief, however, is dignified and respectful. Remember the whole hysterical Diana debacle? Well it was nothing like that. On the news people seemed genuinely upset by the scale of the tragedy, and while tearful held themselves together as only a people who've known a lot of hardship can. There was no wailing, lying prostrate on the ground being a sobby mess or milking it. No one was in a shellsuit or a hoodie. Everyone had dressed soberly and properly as is fitting for a such an occasion.

When Diana died, all that hysteria was new to us. We'd never fallen apart about anyone else. Now of course, we do it all the time. I knew so many people who laid flowers and queued for hours to write in a condolence book. Mrs F-C and I steadfastly refused to jump on that particular bandwagon. We didn't know her and she didn't mean that much to us, but it seemed the longer that week dragged on, the worse it got. Everyone went into meltdown.

Me and a colleague walked down to the Buckingham Palace to see what all the fuss is about. Well, it was on the way home. I took a few photos, and someone called out that it was due to people like me that Diana had died. I'm not sure why. I didn't exactly roar up on a motorbike with a zoom lens. But hey, it was a difficult time for everyone... Just as well I wasn't a friend's housemate who lit her fag off a candle at Kensington Gardens and was nearly lynched.

Looking back it was all so silly and undignified. I know there are people who feel a bit embarrassed by their reactions, but it wasn't their fault. The whole nation got carried away. And now it's any excuse to shed a tear, whether it be Masterchef, Mastermind or the death of Bebo. Diana's death is to blame for the fragility of society and its ability to take instant offence, and I really believe that.

Why can't we be more Polish?


Cocktails said...

I hope that there is something more than Princess Di helping to loosen the nation's tearducts. I suspect that peoples response is in keeping with the person they're mourning. Overwrought teary emotional Princess Di gets an overwrought teary emotional response. The Queen probably won't. Although that doesn't explain Masterchef...

Actually it's all probably part of our ongoing quest for 'meaning' and 'authenticity' isn't it? You're not fully human until you've wept publicly.

P.S. Where is everyone? It's like we're just talking to ourselves these days.

Five-Centres said...

I was thinking the same thing, Cocktails. It's gone awfully quiet around these parts lately.

Bright Ambassador said...

I saw General Jaruzelski once.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I'm here, still. Was going to post a comment but since you mentioned Diana I've not been able to stop crying.

Suzy Norman said...

I went to see the flowers out of curiosity. I really wanted to nick a few bunches. I was on the dole and they would have brightened up my gloomy flat but the lynch mob would have flattened me.
My Mum cried I think. Absolutely ludicrous. We were brought up to hate the monarchy too which made it doubly disappointing.

Red Squirrel said...

Agree with your main point (the Di outpourings were undignified, misguided and plain wrong) but there is one a big difference: Diana was a decent human being; tragic though any loss of life is (and there was more than one person on that plane) Lech Kaczynski was a hideous man.