Lariat Letters: Sad memories stick with us

By Samantha Amaro | Reporter

Tragedy is easily remembered, but happy events are sometimes pushed to the side. The shocking, more brutal occasions tend to leave scars while the joyous moments are easily passed over. No one has time to remember how sweet some flowers can smell, but always remember the smell of smoke and burnt food.

The first thing that comes to mind are disasters. Disasters are easily remembered, perhaps to protect the world from repeating mistakes. There are exhibitions in Las Vegas on the Titanic, displays on people that were lost and even pieces of the ship. There are memorials that thousands come to visit, many who are younger than when those events took place. The Oklahoma City Bombing, for instance, is one of the memorial places that is also used as a museum. There, displays of the people who lost their lives along with a section of the rubble that was left alone, separated from the rest of the museum by a plating of clear glass. Humanity just wants to learn about the painful past we all shared, in this sense.

Films such as “Marley and Me” attain immense popularity and an audience that fills theaters just to let out all the tears they can. Animal movies always seem to make a lot of money, though they usually have upsetting endings. Magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour publish lists of films that are readily available to make a person cry.

The music industry tends to feed off of the heartache and loneliness that people can experience – especially in the romance department. Jazz and indie music are the obvious genres that are threaded with gloomy feelings, but even popular music on the radio can speak on the darker human feelings. Pop music from artists such as Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and JP all speak out about leaving their partners and venturing out alone.

There are several reasons why gloom hangs over society in different forms like films and music. Some of these reasons are quite easy to see, like feeling a common emotion with people that seem far away from a person. Gloominess is also a calming feeling to some people.

Popular Science, a magazine that writes trendy science content about technology and other sciences, looked into this phenomenon. Shaunacy Ferro’s “Why Sad Songs Make Us Happy,” explained that listening to another person’s sadness would be like experiencing that person’s own life vicariously. The sadness we may feel from these songs wouldn’t be a primary danger to our own selves, it would just be a second-hand experience. We are able to let a slow and light sort of sadness just wash over us from songs.

Sadness from popular artists brings the audience closer to the people that they admire. Many celebrities that sit atop the charts seem to be down to earth, like a friend that shares their woes to a mass audience or to a friend. The sadness is an emotion that brings people together, pulling on the heartstrings of thousands. It is an emotion that translates through every language; the way a voice sounds and minor keys seems to strike a cord with those listening.

By comparing the minor inconveniences people have experienced in their lives to larger events, suddenly they have a new perspective. So what if someone at the table just took the last cheese stick? Yeah it’s irritating, but there are certainly worse things, right? After all, the valleys make the hills seem like towering walls, the steepness of a ravine make already amazingly tall mountains gargantuan in comparison.