Unkind comments aren't necessary

August 24, 2016
Grace Jackson

So, the Olympics are over. And as usual, our athletes did not disappoint. But now, as we savour the residual thrills of the memorable occasion, I can't help but wonder how it must be for some of the people whose aspirations never materialised. There was a constant air of celebration throughout the Games as every event produced winners. But puss and dog nuh have the same luck, so there were also plenty losers, as the Olympics also served up moments of anguish and despair. For each sport contested, the majority of the participants failed to qualify for the semi-finals or finals. And only a few got the joy of doing a victory lap and standing on the podium.

So, although many people have cause for celebrations, nuff people are also left inconsolable because dem bet buss! Yeah, many athletes are still feeling the hurt, shame and disappointment of their less-than-satisfactory performance on the world stage. And many officials, coaches, presenters, etc are also probably still cringing from embarrassment over some humiliating error, miscalculation or faux pas that they made in front of a large and unforgiving global audience.

I wonder how dem people deh feeling now! For some, like those US experts who predicted that Jamaica wouldn't win any of the sprint medals, I'm thinking, 'Yeah, unnu suck it up!'

For others, though, I'm trying hard to be a little bit kinder and more sympathetic. So I made a point of not joining the carnival of ridicule that the event has produced. For one, there were so many persons already enthusiastically doing it, additional contribution wasn't necessary.

Yeah, mi never need fi join the crowd of everybody making a meme or riding a theme. Everybody and dem left hand suddenly turn seasoned satirist, cynical cartoonist, and hard-hitting humorist. Admittedly, I found some of it funny. But honestly, I found most of it just ugly and unkind. And I should know. I've inhabited both sides of that situation. I have a good sense of what it feels like to be mercilessly tormented and jeered. I also have good practice with the art of dishing out taunts and teasing people. As anybody who went to school with me will attest, I made a career out of being the annoying joker who was always mocking some for the entertainment of others.




But I guess everything have limits, eh! What you say? Looking back on these recently completed Olympics for example, I'm really wondering how US sprinter Justin Gatlin or Jamaican commentator Grace Jackson would feel if they read half of the things that Jamaicans posted about them. After all, when all is said and done, dem a smaddy pickney, too! And if we are all like children cheering on our team on sports day, we supposed to be able to look at ourselves and sing something positive like Christopher Martin's Big Deal or Nesbeth's My Dream. We don't have to look at the other person and sing something negative like, 'dem favour iron donkey, dem favour iron donkey, dem favour iron donkey inna shorts...'

And if we choose to tease, we must can exercise a little more moderation, man. I mean, can't we playfully poke fun at an athlete's misstep or even share sharp, satirical commentary on a presenter's public blunder without maliciously mocking a person to the extent where everyone is suddenly in an impromptu online competition to see who can come up with the most cleverly constructed derision or the best blend of crude and creative insult? Can we big-up our own exceptionality and celebrate our shared excellence without being mean and unpleasant in deriding everybody else? Can we be proud and confident without being ugly and unkind? Yeah, I'm asking too many hard questions, right? OK, mi done! box-mi-back@hotmail.com

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