Keller @ Large: Why It’s OK For Public Figures To Express Their Grief

BOSTON (CBS) – Sometimes two stories will appear on the same day that graphically illuminate an important topic, two pictures painting a thousand words each, if you will.

That happened Monday, with a report about an extraordinary interview given by Britain’s Prince Harry about the psychological suffering he endured after the sudden death of his mother, Princess Diana, back in 1997 when he was 12 years old.

Millions of people around the world mourned her passing, but Harry now says he never really had an opportunity to do so, stiff upper lip and all that.

princeharry Keller @ Large: Why Its OK For Public Figures To Express Their Grief

Prince Harry. (Photo by Eddie Mulholland – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Says Harry now: “Losing my mum at the age of 12, and therefore shutting down all of my emotions for the last 20 years has had a quite serious effect on not only my personal life but my work as well.”

What a sad story.

But surely we’re past the point in our culture where someone in the public eye is pressured to suppress their grief over a loved one’s passing, aren’t we?

Apparently not.

isaiahthomas1 Keller @ Large: Why Its OK For Public Figures To Express Their Grief

Isaiah Thomas. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

We were also treated Monday to an uproar over on-air remarks made by former NBA player turned commentator Charles Barkley, who remarked that the moving scenes of Celtics star Isaiah Thomas, grieving over his sister’s tragic death before Sunday night’s game, were “not a good look. That makes me uncomfortable,” added Barkley. “That tells me he’s not in shape to play.”

Not only was Barkley’s analysis wrong, what with Thomas going on to play a terrific game, but stigmatizing an expression of honest emotion sounds like a throwback to the Stone Age.

Thank goodness the trend is more towards Harry’s candor than Barkley’s backwardness.

More from Jon Keller
Comments

One Comment

  1. Expressing one’s grief as a sincere expression of oneloss is one thing…expressing one’s grief as a tool to establish or extend one’s “brand” is quite another.

    We have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of the latter, and very few of the former.

    The primary reason for that is that grief is, and should be, intensely personal or limited to those with close personal ties to the deceased. No need for someone to blatantly and selfishly inflict it on others.

    When it becomes a cult affair, one needs to suspect the origins of the cult and come to an independent and objective assessment of the reasons why.

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