R.I.P.: R.I.P.s Shelby Fero

I’m sick of people dying. For one thing, it’s sad. I’d even go as far to say that death sucks. Death is a bummer if only because it reminds us all that the clock is constantly ticking and time is running out (and we’re a self-obsessed species to the last). But if people were allowed to just die, with perhaps only a few leaving mournful comments or others taking the opportunity to comment on an issue or some aspect of society, I don’t think I’d mind it too much. And for those who don’t know me, that’s huge. I am obsessed with death. I obsess over death. It terrifies me constantly – and as someone who is neither religious nor immortal, I am offered very little relief from it.

But often, death just disgusts me.

As it stands, loss of life is being paraded around as a soapbox for everyone’s own arrogant opinions, which would also be fine (I don’t care what you spend your time on) if they weren’t so f’ing boring. Every time someone dies or tragedy strikes, a million people make jokes, a million people argue jokes can’t be made, and a million people sit smugly as they refrain from commenting all together. A few will ask why hate is flourishing at such a rate that almost 100 people have been killed in Oslo. Someone might care that our entertainment industry simultaneously flaunted and condemned her actions, while doing nothing to actually prevent the death of 27 year old Amy Winehouse. But for the most part we’ll each use these as an excuse to preach about whatever B.S. springs to our heads in the moment.

I was taught in high school to never write “use” in an essay. Well, I think I was also told never to use the passive “was” either, but I was probably asleep for that part of class anyway. Yet “use” is the only way I can describe what we are doing here. It is the only way I can convey what I feel to be a blatant disregard for life. When a tragedy strikes, make your jokes or mourn your perceived losses. Be aware of how people are reacting and learn about one another. Maybe you find out someone you respected acts callously towards drug overdoses. Don’t write them off or fire back, take a second to ask them about why they feel that way. Maybe you’ll learn something new that deepens your bond. Maybe you’ll learn they’re a petty a-hole. Either way, I’m begging, from the bottom of my heart, that you shut up.

You are not the first person in history to make a joke.

You are not the first person in history to say “too soon.”

And I am certainly not the first person to say this.

comments

Please help us maintain positive conversations by refraining from posting spam, advertisements, and links to other websites or blogs. we reserve the right to remove your comment if it does not adhere to these guidelines. thanks! post a comment.

  1. @gabrielle….dealing with the loss of osama bin laden. To clarify, are you stating that people would be coping with the death of osama bin laden? I would call that celebrating. I can’t imagine there are too many people from the USA, Spain and other various places that have been attacked that would mourn the death of a self-proclaimed terrorist (unless you sleep with your head up a unicorn’s ass). (However, you may not have meant your statement like that) The syntax is confusing.
    What it seems like you are trying to say is more blatantly stated in your first sentence.
    Coping to me is a personal device utilized to overcome, defend, and deal with a perceived threat. Now, that definition that I just made up, in no way disqualifies humor as a defense. However, people don’t only use humor for defense- there are many reasons people joke- make a commentary ect.. This is the rub with this entire thread of discussion. Some of the humor that surrounds death is good and honest. Others jokes are crude, uninformed, and apathetic. Like all discussions, everyone is right. Everybody wins.

  2. i sincerely agree. i find it hard to believe someone making a joke about someone’s death is “coping”. were my facebook friends and family using jokes and racist comments when they were dealing with the loss of osama bin laden?

  3. We got through my dad dying by cracking jokes about him. And every single one made me happy because it was a celebration of who he was, instead of just mourning that he was gone. Having said that, I totally get your point. When death and destruction are wrought on a large scale, and you weren’t personally involved, there’s no need to comment or make jokes. Like all of the Princess Diana jokes that went around after she died.

    That’s twisted, but I guess with my dad, we were talking about him, and making fun of him the way we would have been if he were still alive. With something like Princess Di, or the tsunami in Japan, or the earthquake in NZ, you are making fun of the situation, not the people involved. And that isn’t cool. If someone had cracked a joke about my dad’s personality I would’ve laughed, but if they went ‘oh ha ha, your dad just died from cancer’ I would have punched them in the face.

    Thanks for a cool post :)

  4. Wow so insightful, I often find myself angry when someone dismisses death or jokes about it. Obviously they have a reason for the way they feel, & I think everyone no matter how ill informed deserves to be heard. The next time someone says something I find to be cruel or inappropriate I will remind myself to ask why & not just call them an asshole for choosing to voice they’re opinion!

  5. I’m all for voicing opinions, but I’m going to have to go with Olivia on this one. What exactly is this post about? Are current events and our subsequent opinions no good here? Are we to not discuss death? Death is arguably the MOST important aspect of life- no culture is without a death ceremony.
    It is alway happening, feared, revered, never ending. Death has shaped our life. For people to not talk about it would be to ignore the nose on the face.
    This article seems to me a touch crass and unnecessary, and yes, not what I thought Hello Giggles was about. A nice remembrance of Amy Winehouse, including her very public issues and perhaps how we can all take a lesson from it, is all that was necessary. A joke is a joke and everyone will make one- you cannot really ask people to “shut up” while you are ranting yourself.
    The sentence, “Don’t be flippant. Or do, I don’t give a shit.” is perhaps one of the most negative things I’ve read on Hello Giggles and I am very surprised it came from a writer and not a commenter. I find it rude and intimidating, not really what I thought this site was about.

    I have to wonder. Are any articles being posted? Or are there editors reading these things over? It just doesn’t seem like something I thought that Hello Giggles would want representing their site.

    • dudes, i don’t know how well you understood the post/rant/opinion of one person. No one is saying death isn’t a huge thing, or that it’s not cool to make a joke about it. This post is about how OTHER people are all “HOW DARE YOU JOKE ABOUT DEATH” or else, the opposite “how funny is it that this person died…” blah blah blah, and the subsequent arguments that arise over being able to make a joke about death, or is being too soon for said joke to be made, and the way that the death is completely forgotten about because it’s much more important to be able to make a joke (or not) about a celebrity dying than to acknowledge that someone cool died and that makes the world a different place. Everyone deals with things differently, but it’s just the way that some people use the death of someone famous to make their point about how they can make a joke about it.
      This post is verrrry valid.

    • I think that Hello Giggles wants EVERYONE to be represented on their website. That’s why they offer such a wide variety of topics, perhaps just the fact that it gets us women communicating is enough of a “point” for this article. I look forward to reading articles I don’t necessarily agree with, it gives me a chance to learn about something I may regularly disregard because on Hello Giggles it’s presented in a reletively friendly & fun way. So share your opinions good, bad, or whatever, let’s learn from eachothet!

    • sorry that last sentence of my comment was unnecessary. I did not mean it to be harsh (problem of reading what is written and not getting to hear tone.) I meant it more, please, really, don’t be flippant (I perceived it to be) but then me realizing that it’s arrogant of me to tell people what to do (who do I think I am) so I qualify with something like that. Stupid/rude of me for sure

      Shelby Fero | 7/23/2011 07:07 pm
  6. I wasn’t being flippant, I was being sincere. I really thought this website was supposed to be about the opposite of what your post has turned into, and what my comment has elicited from you, which is why I freely admit that my comment may and should possibly be deleted. I’m sorry if I pissed you off. I will not get into fighting words with you about it. I am not attacking you, and if you saw it that way, I apologize for my wording and tone.

    • oh man no I’m not mad at all! I love you guys for responding to this! I always start out responses thinking “oh no big deal I’ll just leave this comment” then somewhere along the way get weird and kind of mean. And for that I apologize!

      Shelby Fero | 7/23/2011 07:07 pm
  7. There’s a saying that people who complain about being bored are boring. I find your post and your subsequent comments to be somewhat rude and condescending. Humans need to mourn loss. It’s our nature. It’s also our nature to try and find different ways to cope with loss: some people use humor, sarcasm, escapism (what you are most likely doing?), and a lot of other different ways to cope. Yes, some people take it too far and are very calloused about the loss of life. But if that really is your beef, I think you could have done a better job of explaining that in this post. I actually don’t really even know what this post is about. It’s confusing, vent-y and seems written off the cuff and not very well thought out, which for the subject matter, I find inappropriate and akin to what I think you may actually be complaining about here. People will ALWAYS have something to say about death and tragedy (and the other topics you mentioned in your comment above). Just because you are bored of hearing the same things being said means people should stop discussing universal ethical dilemmas? Really? If it bothers you so much to see how people react to loss, especially in the media, then turn off your tv, computer, twitter, facebook for a few days until things blow over. There’s always going to be a joke about the latest celeb death and there’s always going to be too many pundits spewing their opinions about the latest news-worthy tragedy. Unless we all stop watching them. (Sorry, Hello Giggles. You can delete my negative comment if you feel it’s necessary.)

    • I really do think you’ve misunderstood the message of this post. It seems clear to me that the target of this “rant” (and yes, it is posted under the “rant” section of this site) is not a joke after a tragedy, or seeing how people react to loss. It also seems clear to me that, while perhaps Shelby could have refrained from cursing in her response post, it was not meant in any way to offend, but rather to emphasize her statement. I believe your comment stems from confusion more than anything else – there are subtleties in this piece of writing that are not reflected in your criticism. Shelby, don’t apologize for your writing – you’re putting your opinion out there in, what I perceive to be, a fairly articulate manner, and you’re not framing it as anything other than that.

    • I can come off as rude sometimes and I am sorry, I really really don’t mean to.

      I use humor, sarcasm, escapism, and a lot of anger and crying to deal with things. I know this about myself and feel fine admitting it.

      My problem is not with people mourning the loss of someone. My problem is not with someone making a joke about someone dying. My problem is not with someone sincerely stating “I’m sad this happened.”

      My problem is someone writing a 500 word tumblr post about how IT’S COMEDY MAN IF YOU DONT LIKE IT DEAL WITH
      My problem is a tweet that says “OH MY GOD THAT JOKE IS FUCKED UP THIS IS SERIOUS”

      My problem is that people take a death (a DEATH. A DEATH. A serious thing!) and step away from it to deal with these dumb “ethical issues” that get retreaded and rediscussed EVERY TIME. And I’m sick of it. It’s pointless and it’s boring.

      A good ethical issue to discuss might be the drug problem of millions of young people. Or how religious hate caused a shooting at a camp. One about the nature of comedy is bogus. And I’m into comedy. I voluntarily signed up for a comedy class this semester (lol right?). But all that back and forth that gets brought up every time is old news and obvious (at least to me).

      And, well, this is MY post.

      And I might very well be a boring person, although I have to say that saying sound like bullshit. It’s like saying “you can’t judge music if you can’t play an instrument.” Because I suck at the clarinet but I still know Mozart is damn better than Ke$ha.

      “Sorry, Hello Giggles. You can delete my negative comment if you feel it’s necessary.”
      Don’t be flippant. Or do, I don’t give a shit.

      Shelby Fero | 7/23/2011 06:07 pm
  8. Interesting to read that article and the comments following. My heart goes out to the my fellow Norwegians and to Amy’s family. What devastation people are feeling, I hope everyone can find comfort in their own healthy ways. Love is louder than hate, it’s happier too :-) <3

  9. I like this, girl. Well done.

  10. So if you don’t say anything you’re smug? I think you should be thankful for people who don’t comment because not everyone needs to voice their opinion on everything, ALL THE TIME.

    • The way it was written, there is no implication that all people who sit silently are smug, says the logic nerd.

    • Yeah that wasn’t made very clear and I’m sorry. It jut seems the exact same discussions surface every time something happens. We had to write a big final government paper senior year (lots of high school references today, my bad) and I remember a teacher mentioning that the gov teacher hate when students write about 1) gay marriage 2)marijuana legalization 3)abortion because the subjects are treaded so often, there’s almost nothing to add. Now, occasionally someone DOES come along and provides a unique look or amazing insight, but it’s so rare. Maybe it’s because there’s been so many tragedies recently (Haiti Japan Oslo etc) that it just seems pointless to bring this stuff up every time. I’m bored with it.

      Shelby Fero | 7/23/2011 04:07 pm
    • I think I kinda understand the message here, mainly because I was looking at my Twitter feed and whenever there’s a relatively big news story, some tweeters are quick to come up with the snarkiest, most sarcastic remarks. It happens so much that I can’t help but sometimes think, “You know, you don’t really HAVE to tweet this.”
      Then again, I don’t have to read it either. :/

      Marianna | 7/23/2011 03:07 pm
  11. just to be clear: I am attacking NO ONE in that post. I think you should be allowed to voice whatever opinion you want. It’s mostly the reaction posts to opinions that tires me out. I don’t even know what I’m saying. I have a migraine. Maybe I’m PMSing and should get some MILK! (This post paid for by the MILK Federation)

    Shelby Fero | 7/23/2011 03:07 pm
  12. Death is disgusting and confusing, yet it merits a response. I don’t get many more awkward moments than when I am giving my “condolences” to the family at a funeral home, so I prefer to step back and watch, silently confused. As one who was raised VERY religious, I can tell you I probably don’t find much more solace in death than you do despite what I was taught. It’s not something we’ll ever understand, and I see these “a million people” reactions you describe as mere coping mechanisms. It always follows the same formula, but it’s how people get through and keep on living.

  13. I take these words of wisdom and scatter them throughout the universe, for all of time.

    Or maybe no one will listen, because everyone sucks.

    Or something.

  14. Why is death bad?

  15. I love you Shelby.

  16. I enjoyed this.

  17. to post a comment

HelloGiggles Podcast