2018-03-27 21:35:54 UTC
Grief Lite, Recreational Grief, Mourning Sickness, Conspicuous Compassion,
Tragedy Tourism, Guilt Tripping.
Most of these terms were evolved by a British civil society think-tank
called, "Civitas". They describe the spin-doctoring that surrounds a
government's strategy to attenuate the emotional critical mass of the
citizenry and thereby render them placid and manageable.
Joe Public feels that he has done something from the comfort of his
living room and does not therefore have to engage in further decisive or
"Mourning Sickness" is a religion:
Britons are feeding their own egos by indulging in "Recreational Grief"
for murdered children and dead celebrities they have never met, claims a
Think-tank Civitas said wearing charity ribbons, holding silences and
joining protest marches all indicated the country was in emotional crisis.
The author said "Mourning Sickness" was a substitute for religion.
Rather than "piling up damp teddies and rotting flowers" people should
go out and do some real good, he urged.
In his report, "Conspicuous Compassion", author Patrick West said people
were trying to feel better about themselves by taking part in
Describing extravagant public displays of grief for strangers as
'Grief-Lite' Mr. West said these activities were, "undertaken as an
enjoyable event, much like going to a football match or the last night
of the proms".
"Mourning Sickness is a religion for the lonely crowd that no longer
subscribes to orthodox churches. Its flowers and teddies are its rites,
its collective minutes' silences its liturgy and mass."
"But these new bonds are phoney, ephemeral and cynical", he said. "We
saw this at its most ghoulish after the demise of Diana. In truth,
mourners were not crying for her, but for themselves", he wrote.
Years later, he claimed, "Diana had served her purpose. The public had
These recreational grievers were now emoting about Jill Dando, Linda
McCartney or the Soham girls."
His 80-page pamphlet said that while the Soham murders were
"unquestionably tragic", it was "almost as distressing to see sections
of the public jumping on the grief bandwagon".
He said the traditional minute's silence has suffered "compassion
inflation" and become meaningless. "They are getting longer and we are
having more of them, because we want to be seen to care."
"When a group called Hedgeline calls for a two-minute silence to
remember all the 'victims' whose neighbours have grown towering hedges,
we truly have reached the stage where this gesture has been emptied of
meaning", he added.
Moving on to the wearing of charity ribbons, the report said the act
served to "celebrate the culture of victimhood" and was an egotistical
gesture to announce
The trend had not been accompanied by a tangible increase in charity
donations, it added, and there was now an "unspoken competition" to see
who could wear their Remembrance Day poppy earliest, "particularly among
And on going on demonstrations, the report said it was, "too often an
exercise in attention-seeking".
"Next time you profess that you 'care' about something, consider your
motives and the consequences of your words and actions. Sometimes, the
only person you really care about is yourself", said the report.
Civitas, also known as the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, was
launched in 2000 as an independent registered charity.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: Feb. 23, 2004
© BBC 2006