R.I.P. and go…

Charles 3 Comments


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. Marco”

“R.I.P no. 58”

“R.I.P Simoncelli”

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…


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Richard Rawlinson
Richard Rawlinson
12 years ago

Nicola, an interesting observation but, in this case, I don’t think it’s casual or insincere shorthand, perhaps akin to LOL etc. As you say, RIP has been used for centuries, and it’s a ritualistic way for Marco Simoncelli’s admirers – whether Jason Button or anonymous Tweeters – to show their sadness at his loss and respect for his achievements. Like a picture, it speaks a 1,000 words, which don’t need to be written. RIP has resonance: what more could anyone ask for the deceased other than to rest in peace?

12 years ago

“what more could anyone ask for the deceased other than to rest in peace?”


12 years ago

(… don’t know what happened there, computery stuff no doubt. To continue:) “…what more could anyone ask for the deceased other than to rest in peace?” 1. To review their life, consider improvements they might have made, and decide on another lifetime that will give them that chance to get it right next time. 2. To carry on the work they’ve been doing in their lifetime, on another plane. 3. To be counsel for the living, from the perspective of one who has lived. 4. Anything else that involves hard work, like earthly life does, and is progressive for the… Read more »