Perhaps sometimes, we should speak ill of the dead….

.. or at least we should save the gushing eulogies for those who actually deserve them.

This is prompted by the tragic case of the 14 year old girl apparently mauled to death by dogs recently, and by the headline on the front page of today’s Sun newspaper – or at least the edition on display in my local shop.

THE heartbroken boyfriend of killer dogs victim Jade Lomas-Anderson said yesterday: “She was a beautiful girl who wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Immediately that I read the headline, I thought , “aye, right.”

Then I felt ashamed, and had a little think. There’s no reason to disbelieve that this poor sod was a “beautiful girl who wouldn’t hurt a fly”. She was just 14 years old; why would one have cause to believe anything to the contrary?

Well, I’ll tell you.

If you look on various Facebork ‘Walls of Remembrance’ or read any newspaper story of someone dying an un-natural death,  you will find gushing messages saying that exact thing (or variations) about people who turn out to have lived less than savoury lives.

“S/He was an angel”, “S/He was the best friend you could wish for”, “S/He loved his/her family”, “S/He was the life of the party”

Yet when you scratch the surface, you’ll quite often find s/he was, in fact, a thug, a thief, a small time dealer or other kind of rogue, and that the eulogies are emotionally-incontinent bare-faced bollocks.

And that is a problem, because you can become so used to that being the case, and the reality being the opposite of the public outpourings from the bereaved and the bereaved-by-proxy, that even when a case comes along where these eulogies are indeed fitting, you’d be daft to believe them without checking into it first.

Now, perhaps I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest that people should speak the unvarnished autistic truth about the deceased. The actual grieving family don’t want to face those ‘facts’, true enough, and they may be perfectly innocent and respectable people who deserve to grieve in peace.

They have two societal maxims to enforce that:

  • Don’t speak ill of the dead
  • If you can’t say something positive, don’t say anything at all.

But that’s all a bit one sided, so I suggest that if protocol dictates that we observe the above, then we need a third maxim.

  • If it’s complete bollocks, leave it out, you’re spoiling it for everyone else, you deluded prat.

Then we can start to drop the cynicism. Deal?


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