Why Do We Change Our Avatars After Tragedy?

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Flares of solidarity online after tragedies like the Paris terrorist attacks seem to comment on our strange ability to let the ordinary coexist with the unspeakable. Credit Photograph by Vincent Nguyen / REDUX

The New Yorker, Vinson Cunningham | 11 December 2015

There seems to be no such thing, anymore, as a pause between sadnesses. Before one occasion for worldwide shock, or pity, or horror, or shame, has a chance to subside, another comes stepping on its heels. The reasons for this sense aren’t totally clear, but they might include the unstoppable velocity of news from all corners of the globe (a blessing that will forever remain mixed); a nostalgia for times that were never quite so stable; and—this is the deep fear—a real, ever-more-apparent, and maybe irreversible worsening of the world. >>