(Sorry for the picture, but this is not an actual obituary and it highly amused me in its internettiness.)
In the wake of Paul Walker and Nelson Mandela’s deaths, I’ve seen people’s reactions run the gamut from sad to angry to weirdly belligerent. Here’s a couple choice ones (paraphrased):
- RIP guy in Paul Walker’s car… nobody gives a shit cuz he wasn’t famous!
- Poor people die every day who cares about rich people!
- Nelson Mandela died NOBODY BETTER DARE MENTION PAUL WALKER AGAIN
- Old people die all the time so what if this one was a politician!!
Apparently, if you are too old or well-off, your death should not be mourned by anyone. Please keep this in mind should you decide to excel in your field or live a long, healthy life – we will turn on you like week-old milk, motherfucker!
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the people who just can’t wait to unload their grief on you. OMG I was cleaning the gunk outta my keyboard when I heard about Mandela I WILL NEVER FORGET or perhaps CRYING SO HARD RIGHT NOW I CAN NEVER LOOK AT A CAR THE SAME WAY AGAIN!1! Fuck these people too, is what I’m saying.
It’s okay to be bummed out. If you have an opinion on the matter, you’ve most likely heard of the deceased (I hope), which means your reaction is based on that. Perhaps you grieve, perhaps you laugh, perhaps you are unaffected either way. These are all valid responses. However, to criticize someone on expressing sadness* over the passing of someone they didn’t know personally is just an unnecessary projection of cynicism. I am not sad about this, so it is absolutely ridiculous that you should be! Also, this guy who died is more important than that guy who died! Also, this guy was old so you can’t be sad!
Nelson Mandela was a hero beyond the power of this blog to even describe, a man who changed history for the better in an immediate and dramatic way. Paul Walker was second banana in a bunch of gay car movies. My cold, logical brain says “One of these guys was a bigger deal than the other.” Here’s the rub though, guys. None of us are very long for this world. Plenty of us won’t live to see, say, 2050. I don’t know what, if anything, we’re supposed to fill our days with as we wile away the time until we are worm chow. My limited cognitive abilities say, “Good cheer, fun, love and all that good stuff!” To me, anyone who contributes to the happiness of others, in whatever small form, is someone worth celebrating. Let it be known, I am not equating both men’s achievements. Millions of people being enfranchised after decades of oppression does not measure up to a couple thousands getting a giggle out of “Pockets ain’t empty cuhhh”. Undoubtedly, Mandela outstrips Walker in this regard to about the same measure Oscar Wilde outstrips this blog. But they both, however huge the gap between their respective works, brought some manner of happiness to other people’s lives.
The world sucks, and not everyone can be a Nelson Mandela, or even a Paul Walker. But it undoubtedly takes less effort to simply not be an asshole on the internet for five minutes.
I promise I’ll return to shitty movie reviews soon!
*Exception of course to those who just want to showcase their FEELZ – the type of person who can’t deal with mid-season finales.