Sunday, 25 September 2011

The lost art of tutting

As a race we English used to be so good at expressing mild discontent. But it's something we no longer seem to do very well. For our own sakes, we need to regain the tut.

There was an almighty wailing and gnashing of teeth to be heard all over the world last Wednesday. People were upset, and in many cases genuinely angry. And what was the cause of this disquiet? Was it yet another phase of the economic cycle queuing up to kick us all in our collective backsides? Was there some natural tragedy that had unleashed terrific forces against humankind? Was Justin Bieber going to make good his promised threat of a world-wide tour? What was it that was causing everyone to be so pissed-off?

Facebook had made some changes.

That's right. A website that we're not obliged to visit, that costs us the square-root of bugger-all to use, had changed the way in which it operated, causing literally minutes of re-adjustment.

I'll admit, I think some of the changes weren't exactly well thought-out. I'm a fair believer in the "Not Broke, Don't Fix" philosophy myself, and I quite liked the simplicity of having all news updates in reverse chronological order with no faffing. That ticker at the top right, that tells me about people I know liking comments about people I don't know on the threads of other people I don't know? That's annoying.

But to see the fury being directed at the Facebook corporation, you'd have thought Mark Zuckerberg had been caught impaling babies on spikes. It wasn't really measured. A roll of the eyes and a 'tut' would probably have sufficed.

On Thursday it was the funeral for a friend and colleague of mine. He was about my age, with a wife and two great teenage kids. Lots of friends, in and out of work. A genuine man, funny, hard-working and good to be around. The world is a poorer place for his passing. And as I think about his friends and family coming to terms with their loss, it occurs to me that we need to be a little more healthy with how we deal with bad news.

Changes to a website really don't amount to much. You have the right to be annoyed when things don't turn out your way. But if you go all out; if you express the most extreme of emotion - often violently - for something like that, how on earth are you going to be able to cope when something really bad happens?

Save the strong emotion - be it outrage, anger or grief - for when it's genuinely needed. We need to re-introduce the good old-fashioned 'tut' for everything else.

1 comment:

Misfit in Paradise said...

A great post. I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.


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