Monday, October 10, 2011

Can there be too much compassion? On Steve Jobs and Fred Shuttlesworth

A commenter named ShaunTKennedy had this to say on a Gawker post about Steve Jobs' passing:

...And if you've ever, EVER, cried over the death of someone you didn't know, there IS something wrong with you. There's empathy and there's emotional fragility...
I suspect there is something wrong with a person who cannot feel empathy and grief for anyone they don't know personally.

Steve Jobs was not God, written by Gawker columnist Hamilton Nolan, questioned the public mourning for the tech CEO:
Among my Facebook friends yesterday, more than one wrote publicly that they were "crying" or "can't stop crying" or "teared up" due to Steve Jobs' death. Really now. You can't stop crying, now that you've heard that a middle-aged CEO has passed on, after a long battle with cancer? If humans were always so empathetic, well, that would be understandable. But this type of one-upmanship of public displays of grief is both unbecoming and undeserved. Read more...
I have grieved for public figures.

I cried watching coverage of Sen. Edward Kennedy's funeral, because I am just old enough to have had posthumous photos of the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King in my childhood home; and because of all the work Ted Kennedy did in the Senate to make ours a better country, despite his personal failings and the tremendous weight of family legacy; and because of the grief stricken faces of his children and wife. For all these reasons, I cried.

I felt melancholy the week that Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died. Not because I was a huge fan of either, but because I watched Charlie's Angels faithfully as a child and played the grooves off of Off the Wall when it came out. I still remember the Tiger Beat magazines my best friend's older sister had that pitted the Jackson 5 against the Osmonds for the readers' romantic affections. I am confused as to where the years have gone. It makes no sense that Michael Jackson would be 50 years old, much less dead. The passing of two icons of the 70s makes me face my own mortality and there is a grief in that.


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