Wednesday, November 19, 2008

tragedy 101

today i read that a pram with a toddler, plus an older child, plus a man went into the water off a wharf in nsw last night. the three people died, and someone else who tried to help is in a critical condition.

apparently, the older boy may have accidentally pushed the pram into the water.

as i thought to myself what a tragedy, it reminded me of how people often misuse this word.

anything to do with sport, especially the australians losing the cricket, is NOT a tragedy.

shane warne retiring from cricket IS NOT A TRAGEDY.

ian thorpe not being able to swim at the athens olympics, is NOT a tragedy.

disappointment DOES NOT EQUAL TRAGEDY. even sadness does not necessarily equal tragedy.

the bali bombings, on the whole, were not a tragedy. if you, however, were someone who had battled and beaten cancer, say, and you were in the sari bar that night celebrating your remission, and got killed, that is kind of tragic. but if you were just some heavy-drinking punter out for some cheap bali pussy/beer/dvds/pool action, then that is not tragic. it's not right that you be killed by terrorists, and it's definitely sad for your family and friends but somehow, it's not tragic.

siev x was a tragedy.

a elderly man who steps in between his daughter and the mugger and gets knifed, that is a tragedy. something about his vulnerability, his bravery, his self-sacrifice. if the daughter had been on her own, gotten mugged and killed, to me, that's not so tragic, if at all.

the above incident with the young boys and father, is a tragedy. what makes it particularly tragic, if degrees there be, is that the young boy may have caused it all by pushing the pram. there has to be some chance involved, some real darkness, twist of fate or occasion. malice doesn't come into it. and i'm not even sure the traditional shakespearean human flaw can be seen as tragic, or causing what i would call tragedy.

for me, it's that little bit of extra something that makes your heart wrench when you hear about it, and you go oh no, how terrible.

6 comments:

Pepsi said...

'if you were just some heavy-drinking punter out for some cheap bali pussy/beer/dvds, then that is not tragic'

If you were their mother, you'd see it as a tradegy wouldnt you?

Isnt it just perspective that determines whether something is tragic or not.

Melba said...

i hope i wouldn't see it as a tragedy, because it's not, in my definition. that's not to say i wouldn't be devastated, and grief-stricken and all those other things.

but in my mind, it doesn't fit the definition of tragedy as i understand the definition (ie before everything got labelled a tragedy, which was the point of my post.)

re perspective - i don't think you have to be personally involved to be able to see the tragedy in something.

Pepsi said...

The 'everything is a tragedy and everybody is a hero or an icon' approach to media and general discussion does get tedious and annoying, I agree.

By perspective I meant the individuals interpretation of what tragedy means.

(I checked spelling this time)

Melba said...

well, in that case i guess i have to agree with you. who would i be to tell a person what's a tragedy? people can call it what they like.

but the media shouldn't be perpetuating this. fuck, there are flower-shrines all over the state's roadways. it just seems a little too much. i blame it all on princess diana.

two teens die in a road collision and it's a tragedy. i don't think so. call me harsh. i always have been.

jo_blue said...

I agree Melba, it's hard to see an incident as a tragedy, when there is stupidity involved - ie two drunk teens killed - yes it's very sad, but a 'tragedy'? I'm not sure. And I can't stand it when they apply the word 'tragedy' to sports - that we Australia lost a game is NOT a tragedy. The father and sons drowning like that - definitely a tragedy.

BEVIS said...

But BEVIS not blogging ... now that's a tragedy.