By Nicola Dela-Croix
Look at any comments left on fan sites, on-line news stories and Facebook pages for people who have died, and you will see it there – on comment after comment after comment – those three letters ‘R.I.P.’. Look on flower cards left at death scenes, in books of condolence, there it is again ‘R.I.P.’.
It hit home this weekend after the 24-year-old MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli was killed during a race in Sepang, Malaysia on Sunday morning. As a MotoGP fan I was watching the race live and felt very shocked to see him killed in front of my eyes. And then to see it again in sickening slow-motion during the action re-play. Like many fans, I went on-line to find stories and see what people were saying about the tragic event. And there they were, list after list of reader comments:
“R.I.P no. 58”
And it wasn’t just fan comments. Sports commentators and personalities, including F1 drivers Mark Webber and Jenson Button, were all R.I.P’ing Marco.
This abbreviation of Rest In Peace isn’t new. It’s been used for centuries. But I’m starting to feel uncomfortable about it and I’m not sure exactly why. It’s not that I doubt the sincerity behind its use. And I know that some methods of communication, like Twitter, need to be kept short and to the point.
But in an age of ‘LOL’ and ‘GR8’ has R.I.P been adopted by the quick-fire, short-speak generation who don’t know what else to say when offering their condolences? Just a thought…