Ranking of Sorrows
What is it that makes us need events to be superlative? The horror of Monday's tragedy is neither enhanced nor diminished by whether or not some other tragic event was quantifiably "worse," so why this insistence on ranking tragedies like some macabre Top-40 countdown?[via slacktivist]
Partly, I think, it's the lazy trend of quantifying and ranking everything, from box office returns to fallen soldiers. The deadliest day, the biggest opening weekend, the worst massacre.
And partly, I think, it's the desperate need to believe we're special people living in special times, in "the most critical time in the history of the world."....
Just now I don't much care about the ranking of sorrows.
It doesn't matter to anyone whether this was the "worst" event of its kind, it was worse than bad enough. Sorrow, death and tragedy are not a competition. Comparisons may be helpful as an exercise in empathy. But rankings are utterly pointless.