Rest In Peace

I’m really not good at putting sorrow into words but there was something really depressing about the Sea King crash that killed nine Australian servicemen and women on the weekend.

They brought the bodies back home. I’m glad the Governor General put a sprig of wattle on the coffins. It just seems appropriate.

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C.L.
2022 years ago

Amen to that Scott.

Irant
2022 years ago

The footage on the news was absolutely heartbreaking. I’ll add to CL’s amen.

Warbo
Warbo
2022 years ago

And I’ll echo it.

It was, in a sense, good that SBY was in the country and therefore able to contribute to the ceremony surrounding their return to Australia.

I caught some of Sally Loane on ABC Sydney this morning talking to the parents of one of those killed. They came across as remarkable people, and I hope that their grief can be assuaged by pride in what their their son was doing.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

And I’ll dissent. I have the normal honest and sincere personal and private sympathy for anyone who loses a loved one. Let that be perfectly clear. I have lost loved ones.

But frankly, enormous numbers of people die everyday, many of mechanical failures. I think the nation is in the grip of public grief porn. I was listening to the radio the other day about someone who died, and amid the grab it had to be mentioned that the guy’s parents were ‘visibly’ grief-stricken at the funeral. Why does that fact get called to be at attention in a national news grab? Is the privacy of intense personal grief just so much media fodder? The page three girl of 2005?

What if it had happened that the parents were not ‘visibly’ stricken? Would they have been marked down? As failures? As less than parents? As less than satisfying to the burgeoning grief-porn industry? Everyday, it seems lately, we have to go through a hit of grief porn. How about some sense of proportion? These dudes died, apparently because of ‘shit happens’, just like so many others die everyday, who go unsung. This could have happened on a training run at Dapto. Spare me the public bullshit, please.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Will that be just the five minute argument Chris, or the full half hour slagfest?

In one sense it’s a valid point. But I think servicepeople rescuing victims of a great natural disaster in a foreign country, and undertaking inherently hazardous helicopter-borne missions to evacuate survivors and bring medicala nd food aid, really do deserve our gratitude and support. No doubt the media exploit it for all it’s worth, but a public grieving ritual is well justified IMO

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I’m up to fucking here with public grief-porn, which in my own mind takes absolutely fucking nothing away from the unbearably intense reality of private personal grief. But I’ll take the five minute option.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Thanks for the dead cat, cs. Now I’ll go home and eat it.

harry
harry
2022 years ago

It’s a bit of a shame that the airframes of the helicopters are older than the poor bastards who get killed in them.
Politicians make great personal use of service people’s death.
Yeah, well if you are so concerned:
a) Buy them better (even new) helicopters.
b) Don’t put them in unnesseccary or politically expedient positions. I am of course referring to Iraq here, not disaster relief. (Personally I would love every single person in a similar situation, when the truck or chopper appears, to think ‘Thank God, the Aussies are here’)

Compare the government’s response to the soldier who died of heatstroke up near Darwin a couple of months back. The response was essentially “We lose people in training – that is the reality. It is a shame. We train our guys to be the best by having training as real as possible.”
A bit harsh compared to the response to these nine.
Doesn’t make the heatstroke soldier any less of a ‘hero’ than the chopper crash victims.
And the media loves ‘heroes’ too.
I think Scott’s post is an good example of what a public comment should be in my opinion (a) it was short; and (b) he didn’t bang on about protecting the nation or any of that gumf.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I agree with that harry. We don’t have to see it – for days and days – to know it happens.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

I tend to agree with CS. There is something really off about having cameras trained on the grieving relatives. The fine mean and women who died should be hounoured and their families looked after, but their grief should not be on view for the whole world to gawk at.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

I’m inclined to agree with Chris as well. Warbo mentioned Sally Loane’s ABC radio coverage which I too caught while driving to work yesterday. Sal did the whole grief porn 101 number, from the faux husky voice to the artful parallel with the Sydney weather – “it’s a grey, bleak day today, which somehow seems fitting…..” She then got the Goodmans on the line and asked them (voice catching ever so slightly) “what kind of son was he?” Lance and I both exploded at the sheer contrived artifice of it all at that point and switched the radio off. “What kind of son was he?” that’s for the Goodmans to know, treasure and remember.

It’s a terrible tragedy without doubt but this wallowing around in other peoples grief is pretty unconscionable. Kim Beazley has burbled on hyperbolically about “our beloved service personnel” twice in the last 48 hours. Respected maybe, but beloved? It sounds a bit like the way the PLA used to be referred to during the Cultural Revolution….

The loss of nine young Australians on a peace-keeping mission is unarguably shocking and very sad but why do we increasingly feel the need to do this whole grief inflation thing?

Guido
2022 years ago

There has been lots of grief exploitation last week. I have been listening to Italian media through the web and there is a significant backlash on the overload on the Pope’s death there. Every detail of the Pope’s decline was described by the Italian media as a blow by blow description of what was the latest organ to fail etc. And the mawkish piety of some journalists after his death smacked of hypocrisy.

In regards to the deaths of the servicemen and servicewomen I also agree that it was terrible to show those grieving wives, parents and children. The ABC went into it boots an all as well. No only it intrudes into the private tragedy of those families, but it devalues it by its use as a tool to basically attract audiences (let’s not mince words) producing the same ‘backlash’ reaction such as those expressed by Chris and Italians.

Apart from that it is very sad. Just let them grieve in peace.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I wonder when the Tim Blair mafia will notice this thread, studiously ignore the nuances in the above comments, and start fulminating about evil, heartless lefties? Hopefully never, but I’m probably being a bit over-optimistic.

C.L.
2022 years ago

I’m wondering why every leftie blogger in the universe pornographically lamented the death of cowardly wife-bashing loser Hunter S. Thompson.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

I believe making a comment like that is called missing the point, to put it mildly, me Lad.

C.L.
2022 years ago

Pity Hunter couldn’t dodge a bullet that deftly Chris.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

C.L., your reaction to the death of Il Papa must have fused your neurones. We are talking about intrusively peeping at the grief of the victims’ families. not lamenting the death of the victims.

One just as well say

“I’m wondering why every rightie blogger in the universe pornographically lamented the death of reactionary loser Pope John Paul II.”

Not to mention the photos of his corpse clutching his rosaries that have plasted every newspaper in the universe, which some might describe as religio-necrophilia porn.

But that would be unjust.

C.L.
2022 years ago

Scott’s post had nothing to do with the reactions of bereaved familes. Christopher introduced the “grief porn” slogan to today’s Sheil grumpy spree – referring, of course, to current events other than the Sea King accident.

Guido introduced the comparative response to the topic. He added: “There has been lots of grief exploitation last week.” So I’m well within topical limits.

Feel free to historically promote the “reactionary loser Pope” thesis.

Good luck with that.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I’d really really like us to confine this topicif at all possible. As I said above, it’s pounds to peanuts that you’ll eventually attract RWDB attention (as opposed to restrained if obsessed Santamaria socialists like CL) and the whole thread will go ballistic. I’d prefer to avoid that if at all possible, because it’s both unpleasant and pointless.

C.L.
2022 years ago

Some would argue it became “unpleasant and pointless” when what was essentially a ‘book of condolence’ post was hijacked by individuals who are now being referred to in some quarters of the ‘sphere as ‘necro-hecklers.’

Fair enough – I’ll retire.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

CL

I don’t object to readers or bloggers reflecting on the significance of the life of a prominent person like the Pope. It would be unrealistic (and undesirable IMO) to expect otherwise. I’ve never been enamoured of the idea that you should only say terribly terribly nice things about a person immediately after their death. Obituaries and analyses both positive and negative are inevitable. The dickheads who post “necro-heckles” are condemning themselves by their own actions, but I don’t think the mere act of publishing something that is less than uniformly gushingly admiring amounts to “necro-heckling”.

Polly
Polly
2022 years ago

Where was the outpouring of public grief for Paul Pardoel the only Australian killed in Iraq whose body was returned to Australia last week?

RIP Paul Pardoel, Paul Kimlin, Scott Bennett, Jonathon King, Matthew Goodall, Matthew Davey, Paul McCarthy, Lyn Rowbottom, Wendy Jones and Stephen Slattery.

Stan
Stan
2022 years ago

The military honours all who have died in the service in this way. Perhaps it was the scale and symbolism of this one particular event which attracted more than the usual amount of public interest. I find nothing unusual or unsightly about that. If some of you had preferred that the nightly news cut to the football scores instead, you had but to avert your eyes for a few moments.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“The military honours all who have died in the service in this way.”

Yes indeed Stan and I think that’s totally right and proper. My particular gripe is with the media grief hyperinflation factor which has nothing to do with appropriate recognition of service to Australia or the private grief of loved ones. Rather, it exploits the latter in a ratings- competitive suffering modality that has nothing much to do with respectful commemoration. In Australia we have no tradition of wailing, national garment-rending and pursuing grieving mothers with microphones in order to ask them how they’re feeling. Call me a traditionalist, but I prefer it that way.

C.L.
2022 years ago

When the Bush Adminstration tried to block press access to another plane full of coffins, the left went into full-on conspicuous indignation mode. Terrible thing, they said, to block media and public access.

You’re quite wrong Geoff. World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Cyclone Tracey – the media have always been there with Australians, sending the stories, pictures and feelings back home. The Australian tradition you refer to has never existed. I’ve never seen a mother pursued by a mike-wielding reporter to ask her how she feels about the death of her serviceman son.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Well I understood your point Geoff.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“You’re quite wrong Geoff. World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Cyclone Tracey – the media have always been there with Australians, sending the stories, pictures and feelings back home.”

Exactly. Your point – if you have one – eludes me.

Stan
Stan
2022 years ago

Well I understood your point CL.

Stan
Stan
2022 years ago

I didn’t see any over the top media behaviour in the evening news bulletins that I saw, but I’m sure that could have been the case on some networks during the live coverage. Regardless, it seems to me Geoff that your problem is with the media itself rather than the public who might be quite happy to view the coverage of the guard of honour. If this indeed is what the public wants, I can’t see how you could have a problem with that.

C.L.
2022 years ago

I’m not sure how it could elude you Geoff.

You just claimed there was an Australian tradition of aloofness from public participation in the process of grieving. No such tradition has ever existed.

If you conduct newspaper and primary research on World War I – as I have – you’ll find there was shameless taking advantage of the poignant tales and even injuries of servicemen, as well as public involvement in the rituals of grieving.

Today’s conventions at (only vaguely) comparable times is far more reserved and dignified. To describe it, qua Chris, as some new phenomenon – “grief porn” – is historical rubbish.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

Read my comments re the ABC coverage. It may be that I’ve failed to adequately convey my disquiet at what I do see as grief inflation. I’ve never suggested that we don’t publicly mourn, CL, nor do I have any problem with Guards of Honour – I’ve been in them myself. In my view it’s the way we go about public mourning that’s changed. I guess I see little point in bashing away at the point any further. We’ve all stated our cases and Scott’s original post really needs no further elucidation.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Can’t fool me CL. I know you liked that coinage.

C.L.
2022 years ago

I respect you, your experience and your opinions Geoff. Always have. Enough from me.

I’m off to mint a superior coinage of my own on some bloody thing.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Good luck to you CL, but don’t you now go off and get all conspicuously indignant, you hear.