At approximately 3:30pm PST on Thursday, November 12, news began to circulate that a women had fallen overboard from the Norwegian Pearl, a cruiseliner headed south toward Mexico from Miami and carrying the passengers of Mad Decent Boat Party. Without much concrete information, rumors began to swirl. Most of the media showed restraint and held off on reporting on rumors until evidence was relayed from a primary source, such as Twitter user @zethussuen, who was instrumental in relaying information from the PA system onboard to those of us desperate for information.
Unfortunately, a vocal minority flooded comment sections, Facebook groups, and their own personal feed with less than tasteful rumors and accusations. Some of the most common rumors suggested that the person was on drugs (whether or not this turns out to be true is irrelevant to the intent behind the suggestions); others focused on their own loss, worrying about how this might affect their own experience on MDBP in coming years.
In the face of a life potentially lost, the public at large was shown to be a vile and disgusting hive of ill intent and disrespect. “Welcome to the internet,” they say. That doesn’t mean that I have to sit around and let it happen. And neither should others. One of the worst things you can do is just follow along with the hive because it might feel better or safer to do so.
And for all the randoms on the internet, who have no actual influence, who used the opportunity to provide evidence of their inhumanity, I was most surprised to see Knife Party crack a tasteless joke in the moment.
Playing off of the title of their latest album, Knife Party – on their official twitter account – made a rather nasty alteration to the title to allude to the day’s tragic events. Sensing a little self-awareness, they made sure to highlight the “too soon” nature of the post, which in very real reality, is too soon.
What seems so difficult to others is that in a moment, a family somewhere is wondering whether it was their child who fell, and wondering if they’ll ever see him or her again. Family, friends and loved ones are scared out of their minds, hoping for some form of consolation, and Mr. Too Soon is behind his computer screen on Twitter at the ready. And don’t even get me started on the intensely disgusting troll behind the “twerk” rumors…
This internet culture is not likely to change any time soon. I wouldn’t say that I’m at peace with that, but I can at least understand it. However, by no means does that excuse others from standing up for those that need support in times of trouble.
With the events of yesterday in Paris unfolding, and millions across the world standing together in support, it has been shown unequivocally that humans are capable of compassion.
It’s sad to know that when someone else’s misfortune affects you in some transient way, all you care about is yourself. You might have wanted to weigh in, and act like some kind of authority on the subject, but just like everyone else, you likely had no information that would provide any comfort to those worried. All you managed to do was stir up anger in those with empathy – and if that was your goal all along, I suppose congratulations are in order. You succeeded in demonstrating your intense lack of compassion. Want a cookie?