Marco Simoncelli was laid to rest overnight after a sombre service in his home town. Many luminaries attended, Valentino Rossi wheeling Simo’s bike alongside the hearse as it left the church. Thousands who couldn’t get into the church and its precincts watched on the big screens at the nearby Misano circuit, especially opened for the occasion.
Huge amounts of comment has been generated in the last week, much of it ill-informed and much of it by ignorant people outside of the sport who have taken the opportunity to score a few journalistic brownie points with their editors and their readers. These we can safely ignore and should do so. Their inane ramblings are, as Shakespeare put it (although not in this context) “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Of greater concern has been the groundswell that is growing amongst enthusiasts over the graphic depiction of Simo’s death on the internet. Far from being inured with constant scenes of death and destruction, it seems that Joe Public can’t get enough of it and mainstream media outlets are complying. Even news.com.au’s article on Simo’s funeral this morning had a sidebar containing a video of the accident, as if we haven’t seen it enough already. They DID have a “Warning – Graphic Content” banner over it, as if anyone is going to take any notice of that. In fact, that is really just an INVITATION to watch and satisfy one’s ghoulish cravings.
Numerous petitions and suggestions are out there seeking to find a way of preventing the media outlets from broadcasting this kind of material, based on sound, moral and ethical grounds. But, since when has the media been moral or ethical? It seems like we might be our worst enemies as numerous so-called “enthusiasts” on the social media have taken to publishing and re-publishing the accident under their individual profiles as well.
If we don’t raise a voice against this sensationalist profiting from someone else’s misfortune then where can we expect it to end? Marco was someone’s son, brother, partner. He went to work one day and he didn’t come home. I can’t even find words to give that tragedy any meaning at all. Do we allow news reporters on to work sites to film people dying in industrial accidents? Of course we don’t. BUT IT’S THE SAME THING!!
One word sums it up, RESPECT. Those who want to post up and replay the accident do not respect the memory of Simoncelli despite all they might say to deny it. Their actions speak far louder than their words.
Should Youtube and the social media be more responsible in what they publish? Of course they should. Should the mainstream media exercise the same restraint? Of course they should. Will this tragedy bring about any change in this situation? Sadly, I think not. Man’s fascination with the sensational and grisly is deeply ingrained and no amount of hand-wringing on our part is going to even change that.
I sincerely hope that the outrage that has been expressed over peoples’ actions this week DOES make people think a a bit more about the feelings of others and maybe they might think twice before posting offensive material. Me, I’m just going to continue to ignore the postings, reprove where necessary and remember Simo for what he was, a supremely talented racer who was taken from us far too soon.