Notepad on Life

July 5, 2013

Of course folk whoop at weddings – it’s in lieu of Tweeting…

Filed under: Celebration,Church,Religion — - @ 8:53 am

Not to take anything away from Mark Palmer but his lament for weddings of dignity and reverence is one of those pieces where the comment section is even more informative than the article itself.

Having touched on this theme from a different angle in the past, I think know where Mr Palmer is coming from. Like me, he seems to regard the ceremony’s reflective restraint as an ideal counterpoint to the moment when the party starts in earnest. Not a sackcloth of po-faced reticence but a moment to savour that enhances the day.

After all, even those audience members who can’t let more than the first four four bars of an X Factor song pass without breaking into that grating American-style whoop, even they probably shut the hell up for just a few seconds at least when confronted by stunning scenery or a beautiful sunset. It is as if our subconscious knows that enjoyment is sometimes best experienced through quiet. Mark Palmer simply extrapolates that idea to social occasions.

As the comments on his article reveal, though, he is travelling on the smaller bus. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at the level of indignation he meets. In this Internet age, where interactivity rules and everyone from Ant and Dec to The White House wants us to Tweet, Like, or hit the red button, sitting quietly on the sidelines while someone else dominates the show may, in time, come to feel as old-fashioned a concept as your ‘Sunday best’.

This is why I fear that the minute’s silence for the dead is now under serious threat, at least at those public gatherings where the propriety of everyone present cannot be vouched for. It was the fear of the ‘lone wolf’ heckler – someone else yet to realise that it’s not all about him – that persuaded football clubs, for example, to replace the traditional minute’s silence with a minute’s applause, an arrangement that is showing every sign of becoming as permanent as it is ghastly.

Because, if you’re clapping, you’re ‘involved’, see? Look at me, everyone; mourning interactively.

Standing around, doing nothing, being moved by the solemnity of silence, on the other hand: what’s all that about?

Some people just have an affinity for din, I suppose and yet for all the suggestions that Mark Palmer may not be quite the life and soul of the party, I’ll take his company over that of anyone who routinely starts a Conga. I always think it bodes well for the conversation when you’re in the presence of those who aren’t uncomfortable with the concept of being able to hear themselves think.


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