It’s a strange world in which we live.
Tonight, news emerged that Caroline Flack had killed herself. And it was weird, because when I read it I felt a little bit sick. And shocked. But definitely sick.
I don’t know her. I wasn’t particularly a fan of hers – the shows she was involved in weren’t really in my wheelhouse. Not since TMi on a Saturday morning, with good ol’ Sam and Mark.
But I was still shocked enough to feel sick about it all.
And then I’ve come home from work and fired up the interwebs, and it’s just there. All over my homepage news feed, every media outlet you can think of reporting her death. And then going for the “last TV appearance”, “last social media message”, “last photograph”.
Caroline Flack has had a rough time of it in the papers recently. Regardless of what she did or didn’t do in her most recent relationship, where she was charged with assault, or her previous one where she made life hard for someone off of the Apprentice. Or just the dubious taste that saw her hanging out with Harry Styles for a bit. Everything has been dragged through the wringer, with some papers – we know which – being worse than others.
The same papers and news outlets who are now fighting for first place on the “she’s passed away, she was lovely” train.
It’s not just the press, though. It’s the internet as well.
The constant need people have to tell other people that they’re not good enough at whatever, for whatever, or any variation on that, via the anonymity of Twitter or Instagram is just amazing. And it’s increased exponentially when you’re plastered across newspapers and news feeds.
It’s not just celebrities, either. I follow a variety of gaming things on Facebook. Every single post they make is filled with people bad mouthing something that they’ve never played, but have heard from someone who knows someone who was once near someone who saw someone play it once that it’s shit. Or that every decision such-and-such a company makes is terrible. Or something like that.
There’s nothing positive at all.
And I’m saying that. Me. I am a miserable fucker at the best of times. I am negative as hell. And even then I’m like “bloody hell, guys.” Like I saw a woman today complaining that her birthday present – a trip to see Count Arthur Strong at a theatre on the Isle of Man – was ruined because they’d cancelled the show due to Storm Dennis restricting their ability to get on and/or off the island. Her comment said, “You could have at least TRIED.” I mean, yeah, they could have. They go and do the show, say, and are then stranded on the Isle of Man for a day which means they can’t get to the next gig, which they then have to cancel. But no, as long as Miss Entitlement gets her fricking birthday present.
Anyway, I digress slightly while still making my point.
People on the internet are absolute bellends. I am a bellend here. I complain about all sorts in these blogs, but no-one reads them. And unless they’re about Stephen Fry on that back of every book in existence (I noticed yesterday he’s spaffing words over the Tom Hanks book I’m reading at the moment, dammit) I generally don’t direct my bile at anyone in particular. And even then, I’m just asking for a book, or a death, he hasn’t had an opinion about.
I’m not trolling the living shit out of him. Or commenting on news stories which show pictures of the inside of the flat where someone was beaten with a lamp, with some sort of nasty comment or whatever.
We can blame the media for the coverage which contributed to Caroline’s death. But we’re all to blame as well, to varying degrees, because we – the masses – are they people they peddle this shit for. Every time we click on something like that, or someone feels the need to go out of their way to pass a comment, then a reply, then something about how they’d (invariably) love to bang them we’re feeding them. And everyone knows, you put food in one end, shit comes out the other.
And then we have this.
And it’s bollocks. Because, whatever she did or didn’t do, she was thrown under a bus by every media outlet going. The Sun, in particular, were after her and their showbiz editor has, tonight, proclaimed his love and adoration (and support) for her, while still working for the same paper that published pictures of blood in the bedroom of her flat, and such like.
I mean… come on…
We call Facebook, Twitter and Instagram “social” media.
But when it comes to stuff like this – or stuff that ends in situations like this – it’s anything but.