It's been fascinating seeing how many people have responded to the death of Steve Jobs exactly the way I did. It's truly amazing how many people who never met the man feel not just that the world has lost somebody significant but that they themselves have lost a friend.
Hearing others express exactly what I'm feeling? It helps. And, for the most part, the media has been right there with us, responding to Steve's death by focusing on his impact and the good he has done.
I really hope seeing how many peoples' lives he has touched is helping Steve's family and friends get through this.
But not all of the media has chosen to focus on the good. I won't link to any of the actual articles, but Gawker and the New York Times top a short list of media outlets that have chosen to focus on Steve's flaws and to stand up and shout out to anybody who will listen that Steve was… well… human. Imperfect. Flawed.
There's a custom in modern society that's often called "respect for the dead". It has nothing whatsoever to do with the dead. The dead don't care what you say about them. It's about the living who cared about the dead, and they do. It's because they care that mourning is such a difficult process. Painful. Sad. It's not a time when you want reminders of the flaws of the person whose absence you are trying to come to terms with.
No human with with a shred of empathy or decency chooses to publicly criticize the recently departed, famous or otherwise, regardless of how they felt about them. Doing so is an act of cruelty. It's hurtful. Little. It's kicking people hard when they are already as low as they can be.
For those, like me, who care, but didn't know Steve Jobs personally, people like this are an annoyance. They're just another crass, classless obnoxious Internet loudmouth that we have to make an effort to ignore.
But for Steve's family, friends, and coworkers… the people who really knew him, it's a hell of a lot more than that. It breaks my heart to think that they might read those articles.
Shame on you, New York Times. You're better than that. Shame on you, Gawker. You should be better than that.