THE RETURN OF JUMPING DARKNESS PARADE WITH EYAL LEVI: ALL PEOPLE ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL
All people are not created equal; anybody who thinks so is kidding themselves. Sure, we all deserve equal rights and yada yada yada, but to think that we’re all born with equal intelligence, talent, drive, temperament, etc., is borderline delusional. If we were truly equal, than each of our ultimate impacts on the world and society would be pretty much the same across the board — give or take. But guess what? Because we AREN’T equal, certain people’s contributions to the world will outshine the contributions of others.
I think that is very hard for some people to accept. Pride can be a nasty mental state that will often cloud perception. To really contemplate that someone else’s life, and thus death, may affect multitudes more people than your own can be a tough pill to swallow. I’m not saying that anyone has more of a right to life than anyone else, I’m just saying that some people’s lives will affect the entire world, while others will be lucky to affect the thirty cats they own. I guarantee you that only one of these obituaries would make it onto the news (unless, perhaps, the latter deceased person sexually abused the thirty cats and then ate their corpses).
These thoughts were stirred up by two of the major news events that took place recently: the untimely death of Amy Winehouse and the horrific bombing and massacre in Norway. Both were terrible for two completely different reasons; one- – fame nor fortune can cure a damaged mind, and two — people are capable of heinous acts in the name of ideology. Both these lessons are universal. History can almost be seen as a fugue between these two themes — they are deeply rooted in who we are as humans. Our beliefs about the world and ourselves can be be incredibly destructive on a physical and/or mental level if not kept in check.
Winehouse’s self-inflicted death was not just the death of one more random junkie… it was the very public self destruction of a person who was adored en masse around the world, and who generated millions upon millions of dollars in revenue based on her artistic contributions. Winehouse sold 2,653,121 records in the U.S. I don’t know the worldwide figure, but looking at those numbers, that means that she has generated at least $21,224,968 dollars (roughly) just off of sales in this country! That’s not counting the rest of the world, concert revenue, merchandising, etc. For one person to be the impetus for that amount of income to be generated, it is obvious she meant a lot to some people, or at least meant something to many people. And that is just looking at the numbers — which is only one reflection of her musical/artistic contribution impact. Whether you liked her music or not, THAT’S why it’s front-page news. While her death was the death of just one person, she was a person who impacted millions of other people.
Now on to Norway…
Apparently, a man bombs the government district and kills eight people. Then, dressed as a cop, he goes to a camp filled with mostly teenagers on an island, a camp that is run by a political party with which he has strong ideological differences. He says that he is there as part of routine security due to the bombings that had occurred earlier that day. He gathers people around him then moments later opens fire. Armed with several firearms, his death toll stood at 76 last time I checked. Mostly kids aged 14-18. They had nothing to do with the multiculturalist agenda of the Norwegian Labour party. I guess that didn’t matter. Beyond the blatant horror of the massacre, the subsequent grief of those personally connected to the dead, and the whole of Norway in shock, it is once again another example of the terrible things people do in the name of belief.
So why am I comparing the two? Well, I didn’t at first… but then Sunday morning I got on Facebook and I kept coming across status updates like these: :
“thinks it’s sad how much attention everyone is giving to the Amy Winehouse death and how little attention people are giving to the tragedy in Norway. She had an amazing talent that, in turn, brought her enough money to get the help she needed. Sure it’s sad, but it is far from a tragedy. Something the people of Norway are overwhelmed with right now.”
“Seriously, everyone is talking about this Amy Winehouse lady. Who was she again? I’m sorry I was paying attention to something that mattered like the rest of my life and 90 kids being killed in Norway.”
“Listen people I don’t want to see a bunch of Amy Winehouse updates. I’d be more upset if Fiona Apple died. 92 people who were minding their own business just died unecessarily in Norway. Talk about that and pray for them.”
Etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.
In my opinion, one of the most amazing things about the human mind is our ability to multitask. Just because one thing is going on doesn’t mean that we can’t be independently processing another. That said, I came to two conclusions. First, some people really think that Facebook is life. Second, people have a hard time accepting that not every event has to be rated against another event. Just because one terrible thing happens, it doesn’t invalidate another.
Back to the Facebook comments: People need to navigate off of that site and start forming their own opinions based on research. Don’t assume that your friends’ status updates represent what is actually going on in the world. I checked six major news websites for coverage of Norway and Amy Winehouse: CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Associated Press, Reuters, and NPR. On every single website, Norway was featured prominently, and Amy Winehouse was either not mentioned, or given far less space on the front page. It seems to me like in the wide wide world outside of the Facebook newsfeed, the Norway incident is being treated as a more significant world event.
And rightly so. Many more people died, and they died for no reason of their own making. But just because that may be true, it does not invalidate that Amy Winehouse had, and still has, a profound impact on millions. Nor does it make her death any less tragic.
Why is it so hard to take in both incidents for what they are, instead of turning them into a “Who’s gonna win The Tragedy Awards?” competition? Does it make you guys feel like better people to call out fans who are sad about losing one of their favorite artists? Is it possible that some of us could just be bummed about both?