Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I emote, therefore I am

I am so sick of cheap sympathy. I am tired of the phony grief over what happened at Virginia Tech. By phony I mean the cheap and syrupy sympathy from people who have absolutely no connection with the university, people for whom the event is some abstract event they gawk at on the television.

I have gotten multiple solicitations this morning from different universities, some employers and other alma maters, asking for all of us to come together and send notes of condolence in groups—this department, that department. Then, everyone falls all over themselves in a rush to compose the most cliché-filled and saccharine note, usually saying something stupid like, “Now we are all Hokies.” It’s revolting.

First of all, those of us without connection to the school have no idea the pain that the students and families are suffering. Even as bad as it is right now, it will be much, much worse in the future. Six months or a year from now, when the families and loved ones start to come out of their initial shock, they will be screaming with grief. Once the scab starts coming off the wound, all of these flash-mourners will be nowhere around. These cookie-cutter notes do nothing but make the senders feel better. It is especially telling that everyone wants to do this little exercise as a group, so that the group members can earn maximum credit for their pornographic displays of emotion.

The solicitations aren’t even asking for anything useful like money. Have any of these trendy grievers priced a funeral lately? How about weekly therapy sessions?

I won’t say anything because I am coward. But I will believe that my colleagues actually care when they check up on the VT community in a year or five.

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