Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Empathy

I had started a very po-faced piece about acts of God and a book I read as a child called 'The Greatest Disasters Of The Twentieth Century,' but I deleted it because I knew from the start it was going to need all sorts of silly things like structure, narrative and memory.

I'll start again.

I've always loved a good disaster.

This probably dates back to Hillsborough and my initial reaction to that, when I had more fascination with the breaking news flashes and the sheer enormity of the event that was unfolding than I had empathy with the families of the deceased.

I don't feel bad about this as it's hard to find a ten-year-old kid who can grasp tragedy on such a large scale, they just react to what they're being fed by serious-faced-newscasters and screaming eyewitnesses.

Ever since that day I've had a fascination with these things and not from a 'let's get everyone together and throw a fundraiser' perspective, it's much more of an enthralled yet uneasy spectatorial thing.

I would worry about myself if the thought of something horrific happening to my family, friends, fake Facebook friends, colleagues and fellow bloggementarians didn't turn my stomach in on itself and make me all vomity. It does.

It's the abstract that has, up to this point, taken my empathy away and perhaps it's also the inner tabloid journalist that got killed somewhere between leaving college and finding myself writing an Electronic Programme Guide for Sky circa 2007.

September 11th, the South East Asia tsunami, the death of Gerry Ryan, Hurricane Katrina, the election of George W. Bush, twice, Ireland's recent Eurovision capitulation, the 2010 World Cup, Mary Coughlan, Eijofylfoofoofighters (the volcano), Bono, Saipan, the HSE and the death of Katy French.

Tragedies all, you'll agree, but I stayed stone-hearted throughout the breaking blips and soundbites, the investigations and recriminations. I never once picked up the phone to tell Joe how awful I thought something was and I never gave to charity because I know how charities roll.

Well, it seems I could be cured because tonight, watching the Air India film on RTE One and being familiar with the memorial from various trips to Ahakista in West Cork, I cried stupid salty man tears with ne'er a woman in the room to show my sensitivity off to.

I'm either growing or dying. I'm off to bed to have a word with myself.

11 comments:

mapstew said...

Nothing wrong with the ould 'man-cry' every now and then.

Off to bed to 'have a word with myself'. OK, I know that's not a euphemism! :¬)

(WV = 'stedi' !!)

Kath Lockett said...

Hah! Just as you had me with your lovely man cry moment you just *had* to add the 'have a word with myself' metaphor, didn't you?

goldmaster said...

I'd regard this as one of the rare ones Radge. Deserves to be included in "best bits".
I disagree with you however on George W Bush. That wasn't a tragedy, that was an outrage.

Holemaster said...

You can be forgiven for that Radge. I was upset by it too. The utter sadness of it. Even the relatives didn't survive it.

Radge said...

I was too tired for a euphemism, Mapstew!

Kath - I giveth, I taketh away.

Goldmaster - Cheers. You should watch the thing today, while the cat's away.

Holemaster - Don't start me off again.

Kitty Cat said...

At home we have something like that Greatest Disasters Of The Twentieth Century book you mentioned, but it used to belong to my aunt, so it has her and her now ex-husband's name written on the inside page. It was actually quite funny just how apt it was that that was the first thing in it.

Radge said...

Is it on the coffee table? That's one impressive coffee table.

Kitty Cat said...

Why thank you! I'm a bit in love with it myself. Keep getting distracted from the telly by Jayne Mansfield's boobs.

(Also - and I'm never one to do this BUT - word verification: spirm)

Radge said...

It's allowed, on this occasion. Apt.

Anonymous said...

Bono... Thrown in there for good measure. Nicely done!

Radge said...

Thanks masked stranger.