People hav heard me mention before the extremely unpleasant ultra feminist lecturer, (more properly an advocate of male oppression), who was probably one of the first people to give me a wake up call of my abuse back when I was taking my degree.
She started a supposedly introductory lecture on s/xual ethics with the words "it is a scientifically proven fact that seventy percent of men would rape a woman if they could" then proceeded to give a blazing diatribe against any and all men, ---- which for me, a victim of female sa was needless to say very difficult to here (I actually stuck my laptop's headphones in my ears at one point sinse I couldn't bare to hear anymore without screaming).
She at one stage tried to shut down the student philosophy society (which I'd been president of at the time), supposedly sinse we weren't having enough female speakers, though actually more because we were getting a better reputation than the post graduate society she was in charge of. She also quite literally told a friend of mine she cared nothing about his feelings and became physically threatening towards him, and was genuinely the most unpleasant individual you could imagine, (she once even attempted to sue the department).
Well, I heard today that over summer she died of a blood clot in the brain. She was not too old, and this was quite unexpected.
The odd thing is, I really do feel nothing about this, not even a vague sense of guilt, even though back when she was causing merry hell for myself and the rest of the philosophy society (the occasion i had to learn to play politics very fast), I actually started singing "ding dong the witch is dead!" after the situation was resolved.
My head of department, one of the most considderate and fair minded people you could imagine even said "she was always a very confrontational person" and didn't attend her funeral, (in fact given comments she used to make about her own daughter, I wonder if she! attended the funeral).
the only vague thing I do really feel is a little disgusted at the fact that someone could live an entire life, interact with others, and yet leave behind nothing but a legacy of indifference and disdane.
When someone dies I know it's usual to try and think the best of them and their life, but in the case of this woman I really can't think of a "best" at all, and I know for a fact I'm not alone on this, (I find it quite significant that my . tuter didn't even attend her funeral, despite his considderation for everyone).
The odd thing is, I know if I heard now that one of my abusers had died, I'd think probably even less of it.
Contrast this with another experience. A couple of years ago, I had been up all night learning some lines for an audition. I was catching the train back after my audition and just sitting around waiting for a taxi. The lady behind the counter of the coffee stand at the station asked me if I wanted a coffee sinse i looked so utterly shattered, but I didn't have the money so I declined. She simply gave me a cup, saying I looked as if I needed it and I accepted.
her name was pauline, and I remember her very fondly. If I heard she! had died, I'd be sorry to here as much.
Is there a point to this? yes!
It seems to me, that ultimately in terms of impact upon others, perhaps with very few exceptions it is not the bad things that get a person remembered by those in the world they came into contact with, ---- or at least not most of the time, perhaps because if acts of violence, cruelty and indifference have a consequence that is necessary! to be reduced in it's impact, to be if not literally forgotten, at least robbed of it's immediacy. The other side of the coin however is that positive actions, acts of kindness or empathy or even just ecency take on grater significance upon reflection and hold more meaning for those who recieve them, especially when considdered over time.
Of course, history and the media and such are a different matter entirely in terms of rememberance, but I'm thinking here more of personal significance than anything else.