Opinion

Why are we laughing when babies are dying?

Listeriosis memes and puns expose our fantastic callousness

07 March 2018 - 07:00
Medical technologist Bolele Disenyeng in a lab at The National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg.
Medical technologist Bolele Disenyeng in a lab at The National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg.
Image: ALON SKUY

Just so I’m clear: when 140 mentally ill patients die in the care of Life Esidemeni it’s a national scandal and a moral outrage, but when 180 people die of listeriosis because they’ve eaten processed meats it’s hilarious?

Look, I get it. I like cracking jokes and sharing memes about current affairs as much as the next compulsive attention-seeker.

But, dear jokers, babies are dying. I’m sorry to be a buzz-kill but that’s actually happening. Longed for, dreamed of, they arrived like a miracle and then they got killed by this vicious little bug, and now their parents’ hearts are broken and nothing can ever by funny again, not really – except for you, for five seconds, until the next meme pops up on your screen.

Read Tom Eaton's full column on Times Select

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