Finn McRedmond Week 7: Stop being a tragedy hipster

Morality isn’t about being cool

And I’m sick of your virtual signalling.

The other day while trawling through my Instagram feed in the early hours I came across a poem, if you can even dignify it with that name, beginning with the line “It is not Paris we should pray for, It is the world”.

It was a twenty-two line, poorly written, badly scanned piece calling for the political masses of Instagram (v. political these days #nofilter) to check their privilege and see the shame in mourning those who died in the Bataclan, while paying little attention to the attacks in Beirut two days prior.

shut up shut up shut up

This is virtue signalling at its very worst. If I am totally honest I’d rather someone didn’t tell me what I can feel sad about and whom I can mourn. Were my morals called into question when I was actively concerned for the many of my friends who live in Paris or who have relatives in Paris, simply because I didn’t publicly express that same concern for the Beirut attacks two days prior? Really?

It is totally reasonable to feel sadness for places which are more familiar to you, places with which you share a greater affinity with. The mass media consumers of the UK, the US and the rest of the West are obviously more inclined towards feeling sad for Paris over Beirut, or Bagdad, or Syria, because Paris is familiar and has been in our peripheral vision probably since we were children.

Tragedies happen everywhere every day and some are of a greater magnitude than others but what they all have in common is that they are all tragedies.

Pointing out the occasional Western focus of the Western news is okay and can be a positive thing. 

But do you know what’s not cool? Shaming those who aren’t grieving over the things you have deemed to be most worth grieving over.


Everyone is biased in some way towards some things. Some films move me whereas others move other people. Certain acts of violence and certain tragedies will affect some of us more than others. That is okay.

But it was the self-congratulatory wank which accompanied those virtue signallers pointing out how terrible it was to grieve over Paris and not over the refugee crisis that was the hardest to swallow.

OMG! Were you grieving about Beirut before I was even given the opportunity to grieve about Paris!?

w o w

You must be really into politics, and current affairs, and morality, now that we mention it. You were moral before it was cool. You were ethical before like, ethics were even a thing. Shit bro.

This guy was ethical way before you (this is Aristotle)

We are all familiar with the common trope: “Yeah that band are okay, but I liked them way before they became a bit mainstream – ya know?”. Hipsters. They are terrible. And do you know what?

You are a tragedy hipster. You were grieving before grieving was even a thing. And you were grieving over the most important issues, the ones which delineate you as an exemplar of morals.

I pray for Paris AND Beirut AND also Bagdad, AND WHILE WE ARE AT IT ALSO THE UKRAINE. And Peter André. Pete needs our help no joke.

Did you know that the issues of the welfare state, feminism, the LGBTQ community, race relations, global warming, terrorism, NATO, deforestation, the war on drugs, cyber crime, cyber bullying, government surveillance, animal rights and religious freedom are all equally important to me. Because I would be a bad person if they weren’t. And you most definitely are.

Really, go on, tell me more about how moral you are

So, let’s not deny people the right to grieve over things they find genuinely moving, and yes, let’s point out the tragedies happening elsewhere, it does no harm to be more educated about the world. But let’s also not use our knowledge of Beirut to devalue and even incriminate the emotional response towards Paris.

Your tragedy is not more tragic than mine.

But your sour-grapes Facebook post is the most tragic of all.