Upon realizing the extent of the attacks against Paris, we felt uneasy, saddened and helpless. With the threat of ISIS (or ISIL) and our ever-healing wounds from 9/11, it was far too easy for Americans to empathize with France.
If you are anything like me, my immediate surroundings were not directly disturbed by the atrocity that occurred, but it felt strangely wrong to return to my mundane tasks of the day. With so many in the world suffering and grieving, how could I?
The effects may not be tangible in your personal life, but as humanity is reeling from these bouts of terrorism, you are expected to just go to that college basketball game, as if nothing has changed.
It would be unhealthy to cease all of your plans and stop your daily routines, but why does it feel so inappropriate to discuss anything other than the overarching, pressing issue?
After tweeting about the beauty of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, I felt obligated to retweet something concerning Paris. It felt insensitive, because even though my heart was with Paris, my mind decided it was a good idea to post a witty tweet.
I incessantly updated my news feed to keep up to date on the events as they unfolded, but this article is not a recount of last weeks’ events. It’s an analysis of appropriate actions in the aftermath.
SNL made a special tribute to Paris before the monologue Saturday, and “The Soup” decided to cancel its show altogether last Friday night. Meanwhile, other celebrities continued on their merry ways, predominately promoting their latest projects *cough Justin Bieber cough*.
The aftershock of 9/11 brought about the notorious exchange when SNL producer Lorne Michaels asked, “Can we be funny?” to which former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani responded, “Why start now?”
Other changes included the Emmy Awards being cancelled twice and sitcoms based in New York removing the Twin Towers from its openings, as well as deleting any references to airplanes.
The latter is understandable, as that would be extremely distasteful, but many famous comedians use rough patches in life as comedic fuel. Laughter is the glue that holds us together, to lighten the mood and inspire people to move on even during the darkest of times.
In our web-centric world, the “rules” and coverage have become, quite frankly, a hot mess. It turns everything into a competition and any outlier opinions become “politically incorrect.”
The thing is, if we choose to avoid talking about anything else but the Paris attacks, then that would set the precedent for all future incidents. And as the users of the Internet have kindly pointed out, there is virtually always something serious going on. During the time span of the Paris incident alone, there were several other countries experiencing similar tragedies.
I personally refuse to add the filter to my profile picture. It’s not a suitable indication of my prayers for France, not to mention how hypocritical it is to merely take the 30 seconds to hit the button and add the filter, without donating money or helping in any other way. Opposing viewpoints may argue that it promotes awareness, but this is faulty because there is virtually non-stop news coverage on Paris.
Since when does changing your profile picture or the amount of likes on a status become a determinant about how sincerely you care about an issue? This is especially true if the default pic features you flipping the bird or partaking in illegal activities. I applaud the celebrities that released statements, but it’s hard to figure out who actually cares and who is conveniently joining in on the trend.
And then we have the people who have taken it upon themselves to choose flags of other struggling countries for their profile pictures in order to combat the Paris-centered coverage. If you really want to make a statement, mix all of the flag colors together and what will you end up getting? Black. Have no profile picture, because the uniformity will highlight the core of our beings, all of us essentially containing 99.9 percent of the same DNA.
There simply is not a universal solution to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior after an upsetting occasion. Everything in life is about balance, so I recommend remaining respectful while not being overly sensitive or blatantly rude.
People may argue that it is beautiful to witness the world coming together in the wake of a tragedy, but I would point out that it’s disgusting that any other day of the year, the world is full of hatred, bigotry and envy. It should not take a tragedy for us to put that aside.
Just a friendly reminder: never let the evil of the world numb your compassion for humankind, no matter the day of the year.