So the past week or so has been rife with odd goings on in the Sunshine State. These events, strange though they may seem have fairly mundane explanations, and heart-wrenching ones at that. Which is why some people find the meme regarding a zombie apocalypse in Florida to be so offensive. A friend of mine posted this on her Tumblr. Mental illness is no joking matter and it is a source of pain for entire families, my own included. Which is why I linked you to my friend’s page and not the original article at Jezebel. If you think people suffering and being left to do so by a neglectful community is funny than I think her response is an appropriate one.
Beyond that, though, is an entirely separate reason why this meme, and others like it bother me so much. It is the reason why Evangelical Christianity, and other end-of-the-world obsessed religions irk me as well. This preoccupation with the world coming to an end encourages rejecting real community responsibility.
“Why worry about the welfare of the planet if none of us is going to be here tomorrow?” This is the heart of the problem with these lines of thought even when they are expressed in mirth. Why carpool, why reuse our bottles, why conserve water, why feed the poor or finally, why make sure the mentally ill get adequate care? When we are so close to the center of entropy’s spiral, why care about anything besides our own immediate gratification, whether it is emotional, physical or spiritual?
Freed from the burden of worry over how we leave the world we can rest, content that it doesn’t matter. At the very least it is one less thing to be anxious about. Well, I want to be anxious. I want to be concerned with how I am leaving this world for the younger generations. I already have so many friends and family among them, and seeing that I am only about halfway through my journey on this world, I am likely to have many more before I am gone. I would be a poor friend indeed if I gave into the relief of oblivion and let them inherit an awful mess.
So before you contribute to the dissemination of this meme, ask yourself first how the people involved in these incidents (and similar ones) feel about your doing so, and second, what sort of behavior you are encouraging in yourself and others. I have no problem with humor, even (if you know me you’d know “especially”) morbid humor. I do have a problem with reflexively sharing a joke in poor taste without reflecting on what it means to the world at large. Humor is supposed to make us think (jesters gave kings a chance to consider another perspective without being challenged directly) so let’s all do so.