|http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=9652&picture=crying&large=1 Link to original picture by Peter Griffin|
I’ve had a working draft about “grief porn” sitting in my queue to finish for about a year. No matter how I approached it, I couldn’t finish it. Anything I said came off as unintentionally harsh or dismissive. It’s not a trend that I fully understand. It certainly affects me. Some of the content is very well done and is virtually impossible to avoid getting a visceral reaction to it.
I deleted it and instead decided to go with a couple of links about the idea. I like the term “mourning sickness” better, as the cliché of adding the suffix ‘porn’ to everything has accelerated a bit too much in the last couple of years.
Following social media, you can see that the mourning sickness trend is much more prevalent than it used to be. Technology has made it much more difficult to create and distribute, in real-time. People have become more accustomed to it and this has loosened people’s tolerance of it. Much of the coverage about it seems to focus on the minority of those who thrive on consuming it.
It’s difficult to know how to process much of it, as I don’t have a personal connection to much of it. Some critics say that it’s a way to socially demonstrate that we are compassionate and identify with human emotion. Others say that it’s a variation on “elation porn,” the drive toward saturating everything with “feel good” stories and content. (Surprising someone with a new house, a returning soldier appears by magic at a sporting event…) The ice bucket challenge earlier this year was an example of the overall tendency, although it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the categories.