Online Memorials and Social Diarrhea

Posted on August 18, 2013 by

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Will's Words

People have been writing negative, hateful crap about others ever since the first bathroom wall was erected.

Modern online social media has opened the floodgates for keyboard warriors and internet tough guys to reach out and harass a larger spectrum of people than ever possible before. It’s the perfect place to talk smack, air unpopular (often irrelevant) opinions, and get under anyone’s skin without the looming threat of any substantial consequences.

In my personal opinion, if done properly, it can be humorous and mildly entertaining. And we all know one or two assholes who deserve to have their emotions crippled on a daily basis. But some idiots venture beyond petty arguments, witty jabs, or trash talking into darker, uglier tactics such as “cyber bullying” and even “RIP trolling”.

Apparently, there is a new trend of bombarding memorial websites with disrespectful jokes and horrible statements.

Enter the Kocher family; an Illinois couple whose 15 year old son, Matt, drowned in Lake Michigan. To ease their grief, the Kocher’s made a memorial Facebook page in honor of Matt.

One day, a family member called to warn them not to look at the site. Naturally, they did and found that it had been littered with disrespectful memes about drowning and people mocking the death of their son.

Now… it’s hard to put into words what a pile of garbage you must be to have the sack, or lack thereof, to do something like this to a grieving family. Stated clearly: There is no use for you or whatever you may someday spawn on this earth!

Those who know me know that I have very, very few limits and respect even fewer boundaries. But verbally bashing a dead kid where his heartbroken parents will see is certainly one of them. The deceased can’t defend themselves and their surviving loved ones are in a very fragile state, so it’s just about the lowest low you could possibly reach. I hope horrible things befall you and your descendants, and if possible, I would facilitate the process.

However, I’d be lying if I said that memorial sites, and those who create them, don’t deserve some of the blame.

Everyone has different methods for grieving, and far be it from me to tell someone how to deal with death. However, the internet contains more than a surplus of jackasses waiting to pounce on any sign of weakness. Creating a memorial site is the equivalent of painting a giant target on your back.

Is it right that you have to change your ways because of the actions of some idiot? No. But fair is not how the world works.

The negative actions of a few can ruin something for everyone else. You are more than welcome to post your personal business online, but be prepared for the inevitable douche-bagery that follows.

Still, I’m not sure who I hate more; the scum-sucking RIP Trollers or the plagues of pandering, self-righteous tool bags. I’m referring, of course, to the dozens of people posting empty comments, like “condolences,” in order to feel better about themselves because they “did something nice.” I would feel less consoled and more angry.

Then, there is the onslaught of other posted gems like “RIP”, “see you on the other side”, “God got another angel”, “always in our heart”, or my personal favorite “always smiling and loved everyone.” Online comforting is about the equivalent of Facebook birthday wishes; mostly meaningless and from people who aren’t really close to you.

Do you really want your lost loved one’s memory summarized in a few generic words meaninglessly typed out and posted on a website? Are we really allowing that to become the standard for memorialization: a couple of keystrokes, a click, and forgotten?