Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ponder: A Half-Life for Grief?

"For four hours, then five, then six, they trended Twitter hashtags like #Porte-Ouverte and #PrayforParish.  They laid French flags over their Facebook photos and shared images by artists like Jean Jullien.  And just as quickly, their posts reverted: back to quips about sports teams, viral videos, pictures with friends--now posted by little avatars striped in the French blue, white and red.

These posts feel somehow inappropriate--indecorous, somehow.  As if their very posters were telling jokes at a very somber funeral.  The world must move on, of course; no one's saying it shouldn't...Still it makes one wonder; Is there a half-life to grief?  And has the Internet shortened it, as it has all other things...

Maybe this "works," quote-unquote, in daily life: There's nothing inherently life-or-death in the Internet's weird time compressions, nothing wrong with 15 minutes of fame shrinking to something much smaller.  But after a tragedy like the one in Paris, we need time for sustained, contemplative thought.  And there is no time for anything, ever - the Internet moves on."

Caitlin Dewey, "Is Our Passage Through Grief Just One More Thing the Internet has Shortened?"  The Washington Post 21 Nov. 2015, E2

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