I’m so proud to have a poem published with Rattle – their poets respond series is one I’ve been reading for years, not to mention that Rattle pays its authors for each contribution. But I’m especially proud because the poem they chose, is one that I felt really passionate about. I’ll copy the link here (which also has an audio recording) and paste my comment on the subject matter below:
In a world where you can be anything, be kind,’ wrote Caroline Flack on social media last December. On Saturday, we learned the much-loved British presenter had taken her own life. While there’s never a simple explanation for this kind of tragedy, it’s clear the British tabloids played no small part. Flack was tormented and harassed during a mental health crisis.
An online petition calling for a law that would prevent newspapers from ‘sharing private information that is detrimental to a celebrity, their mental health and those around them,’ has quickly gained over 400,000 signatures. Politicians have also lined up to criticise the tabloids, as well as hate-fueled social media commentators. This comes just weeks after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry threatened legal action against several British tabloids.
I felt so sad and shocked when I heard the news about Caroline Flack. I wanted to write something in response, to address the vicious gossip-mongers who tear women in the media to shreds. Some shame-faced tabloids have even been deleting cruel articles in the wake of Flack’s death. But I also felt I had to acknowledge something about gossip in general, because there’s no supply without demand. We have to turn away from the tabloids, ignore the clickbait, we can’t believe everything we read in the papers. When we consume this fakery, we become part of the problem too.