Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Come Again?

Pop star Justin Bieber has been in the news lately because of a comment he left in the guestbook at the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam:  
"Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber." 
I understand that the folks who preserve Anne Frank's legacy have come to Mr. Bieber's defense.  That said, it doesn't change the way I feel -- it's nauseating to think that someone could be so self-centered in light of what they (may) have seen and learned during that visit.

Good will come of it, for sure -- as a result of this flap, more young people will learn about Anne Frank.  Hopefully, Mr. Bieber will learn why this guestbook comment riles up many people, and he can learn to be less self-centered.

I think that whenever tragedies take place, people should keep their self-centered impulses in check as best they can.  In addition to the obligatory knee-jerk comments rolling around online (the 'false flag' geniuses who use Boston EMS preparedness as their 'proof', the jerks who blame this on American foreign policy when we still don't know who did it, and the jerks who blame Muslims when we still don't know who did it).

By the way, I've been glued to the media (mostly NECN, but also national) since yesterday afternoon and must say they have shown phenomenal restraint as far as the finger-pointing and speculation goes.

But anyway, I want to quickly return to the self-centered impulse thing.  Mixed in among the heartfelt Facebook posts about resilience, thoughts and prayers, coming back stronger, loving first responders, etc. have been some "me-me-me" sort of posts.

I realize these are posted when emotions are still raw, but what I don't like is that the first poster implies a lot of personal heroism when there was no shortage of first responder capability on-site.  The second one speaks for itself.  Most amateur runners can predict their finish time for a short-distance event, like a 5k.  But 26.2 miles?  That's a bit more challenging.

As you can see, I stripped all names, pics, in-line comments, etc.  out of respect for those who posted (as I said, this stuff comes up when emotions are raw).  I will also acknowledge that both posts reference the greater community and event, even if those are de-emphasized.  

ALL people, myself included, have self-centered impulses.  As my first boss used to always tell me, "I'm still waiting to have my first unselfish thought...and I'm not holding my breath."  (He was one of the best human beings I've ever known, btw, and he was a helicopter crewman in Vietnam).  

In times of tragedy, though, sometimes the best course of action is to make sure we're focusing on the people who have really suffered, and who are really grieving.    

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