This piece from the UK Telegraph considers the modern phenomenon of mass recreational grieving for celebrities and it’s offshoot activity: the wearing of a variety of multihued “cause” ribbons to indicate one’s enthusiasm to be identified as the sort of person who cares enough to wear a cause ribbon.
The grab relates to a just-published discussion paper, ‘Conspicuous Compassion: why sometimes it really is cruel to be kind, ‘ by Patrick West. on behalf of the UK think-tank Civitas – the Institute for the Study of Civil Society.
West claims that the spread of ribbon-wearing has not been accompanied by a growth in charitable giving. Between 1995-99, as ribbons flourished, donations to good causes dropped 31 per cent. He also asserts that “cynical and selfish motives lie at the root of all recent public displays of grief. To today’s collective ‘carers’, the fate of the homeless, starving Africans or dead celebrities is not actually of principal importance. What really drives their behaviour is the need to be seen to care. And they want to be seen displaying compassion because they want to be loved themselves.”
Challenging stuff. I’m sure that Australians would never embrace that sort of thing.