It’s nice when someone else pries a thought from my head and puts it down in writing better that I ever could.
Worst of all is the combination of the two. The other night fans of another club, Bolton Wanderers, remembered their hero, Nat Lofthouse, the “Lion of Vienna”. He did, mercifully, get the silence he deserved. Done well – and this was – a minute’s silence can create real gravitas as a sudden, reflective stillness descends on thousands of people. But, confusingly, as the silence ended, it was announced that he would also get a minute’s applause, an act with no gravitas which only served to spoil the moment. It was as if the club felt it somehow had to dilute the one with the other. The result was tepid water.
The prescription, in my mind, is simple. Minute’s silences are for national disasters, royal deaths and the passing of bona fide sporting heroes (the latter just to be observed locally). Applause should be reserved for great jazz solos and sliding tackles only.
I am very much in agreement. I’ve never liked the minute’s applause; to my mind it’s an easy out. We are social animals, and we don’t much like proper silence, it makes us uncomfortable. So observing a full minute’s silence is something that requires an effort because inherently we don’t like it. Clapping as a herd is what we’re good at, and therefore isn’t any sacrifice at all.
Also: grief inflation is getting out of hand. As the correspondent says, keep national acts of remembrance for national events; keep local ones for local events; and keep private ones to yourselves. It’s the only way to stay sane.