World’s greatest minds find scapegoat. Mankind rests easy.

The recent spate of suicides in Bridgend is undoubtedly a cause for concern, particularly for those who have lost, or fear they will lose, a friend or family member. Suicide is utterly dreadful for those left behind, and a constant worry for anybody close to someone considered “at risk”. It is right that, in the circumstances, people should be looking for answers.

Blaming social networking sites for this unfortunate phenomenon is, however, what the layman might call a complete and utter lake of horse piss. To suggest that sites like Bebo and MySpace are in any way to blame for a series of young people taking their own lives simply doesn’t add up, and to do so in a national newspaper is farcical. We are invited to believe that young people are hanging themselves in order to garner a memorial page on said social networking sites. That it’s all about the “prestige”.

Now, I was once young myself (I’m 29, for the record). And back then, I was, like all young lads, keen to make a name for myself. A part of this desire for fame (or notoriety) – indeed, almost all of it – was directly attributable to a desire to read about myself in the papers or see myself on the telly. The latter part of this I later renounced on seeing myself briefly in a clip from BBC2’s The Late Show. They had visited my school as part of a feature on the poet Glenn Paterson. The micro-seconds for which the camera rested on my face confirmed an already burgeoning suspicion that I had fallen from the top of the ugly tree, hit every branch on the way down, landed in a pile of ugly leaves and, on standing up, been struck in the face by an ugly jackdaw which I had stunned during my fall. But I digress…

One of the key elements of prestige, I’ve always found, is that you get to enjoy it. Ergo, those that are dead benefit very little from it as a rule. Are we to assume that the young people who end their lives are too blinded by the glittering prize of fame to realise that being dead will impair their enjoyment of said prize? Insensitive though this may sound, I really doubt there’s broadband where they’re going.

Even allowing for all of the above, one small point seems to have been missed. The glory, the recognition, the fame of being featured on a Bebo page is as nothing compared with a feature in a daily national newspaper. So why do the Daily Mail see fit to raise the bar in such a way? Maybe it’s the tabloids that the police need to be looking at.

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One Response to “World’s greatest minds find scapegoat. Mankind rests easy.”

  1. […] Suicide Cult Redux As the number of people dying from suicide in Bridgend continues to increase, so does the level of prurience in the media’s coverage of what they […]

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