Caroline Flack’s Suicide and the Failure of Society’s Moral Compass

The harrowing displays of blame and guilt show just how damaged our morals have become

Saturday the 15th February 2020 will sadly be remembered as the day Caroline Flack died. Despairingly, she took her own life at the tender age of forty.

The horror of her passing has yet again pricked the national conscience. In less than a day, the press has moved from ridiculing her to honouring her memory — and all for what — to sell newspapers.

Many in the public believe the death of Caroline Flack is the responsibility of these newspapers. They were the ones who helped inflate her fame, and then, when she allegedly did something wrong — kicked her down.

Did they stop to consider Caroline was human?

By being human I mean not perfect. Flawed by the fallacies which blight every person who ever lived. ‘We’ make mistakes, we react rather than respond. In the heat of the moment, we make misjudgements forced upon ourselves by the way our minds work.

This affects us all — Caroline included.

Fame or the perception of it creates pedestals. Sometimes for those individuals caught up in the moment of exposure to millions, it’s what they saviour. But, for many, it isn’t what they seek.

After all, being a TV presenter is a job. Nothing more, nothing less.

The sorrow and the anger being displayed over Caroline’s passing is society offering its guilt. Because, society — we — are all collectively guilty of pushing this poor girl to take her own life.

Our society buys the newspapers, watches TV programmes, tweets and likes the posts. All gloat in the uplifting and browbeating of others. Some will argue it is the producers and editors which are to blame.

No, they are just another part of the rot which society has become.

The failure of Society’s Moral Compass

This is what bothers me about Caroline death. You can add to this the treatment of Megan and Harry and countless others. We make them heroes until it suits us not to, then we kick them until they give in.

The tabloid press might be the drivers of this behaviour, but it isn’t all on them. They are the conduit which magnifies who we are as a society. We buy their papers, follow them on social media — one feeding the other.

What’s broken is our moral compass.

In 1997, Princess Diana died in Paris.

Why did she die?

She died due to her driver losing control of her car trying to escape the paparazzi from taking pictures of her. What did they want the pictures for? To sell to the newspapers.

Why would the newspapers want pictures of Diana? Because the public wanted to see them. It sold newspapers. We, the public were buying them. And even worse, when she died — we carried on buying them.

In truth, our moral compass was as broken then as it is now. If we had been as repulsed as we say, these papers wouldn’t exist any longer. But, twenty-three years later they do and still, the same thing continues to happen.

We pick people up — glorify them — and when we’ve had enough, we dump them.

Morality it seems is dead.

Be Kind

It doesn’t seem a lot to ask does it. Be kind, be understanding. Whoever we are — famous or not — we’re all human.

After Caroline’s death, the word’s ‘be kind’ started trending on social media #bekind. Integrity and morality should lead us to treat others as we would like to be treated.

The world would be a much nicer place, and yet it isn’t.

How many of us sit in judgement of others? Pouring scorn on those who might have reached the top, who can’t walk down the street without being stopped. We don’t know them. Not really.

None of us knew Caroline.

None of us knows the demons of mental fallacies and how they work in other people. Hell, we hardly understand them in ourselves.

And yet, it’s become all too easy to be nasty. To bully, to judge and be horrible as we hide behind our keyboards or our phones. Teasing and mocking without a thought as what it must feel like to be on the receiving end.

We might blame social media or the newspapers or TV, but it’s us which deems this behaviour acceptable. We are so conditioned to it now as well.

Look at Caroline. She made a mistake, she apologised and stepped back from public life. Yet still, we vilified her for it. How did we expect her to cope with it?

It felt like ‘being kind’ was a guilt-driven reaction. It was our collective sorrow which made us stop and think. But it was too late, the damage had been done.

How do we move forward?

Society has lost its way.

We are blighted by our prejudices. Even more so in this so-called modern developed society. Racism, anti-Semitism, bullying and the like all still go on and arguably they’re getting worse, not better.

From the glory of victory from World War 2 and the moral belief that good conquered evil, we’ve lost it.

We are so full of arrogance and self-belief we can’t see the harm we’re doing to ourselves. The big constitutions which held sway over our morals have failed, brushed aside by humanities quest for greed which capitalism has fed.

Now, our big constitutions are the technology empires of Facebook, Google and the rest. It’s no wonder we’re in trouble. Politicians can advertise and lie. What a great moral example!

Good must come from within.

We must wake up and see how morally corrupt we’ve become. Then and only then will we understand that Caroline’s death might not have been in vain.

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