I've been coming over all why-oh-why about grief. Or more particularly Official Grief - writes Alex Thomson.
Once upon a time British people could get themselves totalled on our road network, safe in the knowledge that once the mess was cleared up that would, pretty well, be that. Closed doors, private tears and all that.
That's how we did it. No dramas. No more though. Now you can't pass along any stretch of tarmac for more than a few without some carefully-nurtured shrine blurting out of the cow-parsley.
I blame Diana. I can still recall people wading around all those bunches of flowers and actually queuing up in the hope of being vox-popped. Queuing? I distinctly remember a palpable sense that these mourners' grief was in some way further validated by appearing on TV, by showing it off. Boy - did they ever want to be on TV?
Some years later, spool fast forward and we are on the south bank of the River Thames where the long line of people waiting to pay their respects to the Queen Mother finally ends. The same phenomenon precisely: lots of cheery people, desperate to be on telly and say how sad they were. Weird.
So it is that no disaster, no outrage can be allowed to happen any more without an outpouring of Interflora. The pavement outside Dunblane in those dreadful days was covered in bouquets.
I'm not saying for a moment this not genuine, not real emotion and grief - just that things are clearly changing in our culture. We are now making A Very Big Show about grief. It's gone public in almost Mediterranean fashion.
And it's not just floral - it's silent. Big, long silences. Once upon a time a minute would do the trick. Not any more. The government only recently deciding on two minutes for the anniversary of the July 7 attacks in London. Football matches are, almost routinely, prefixed by silences for various reasons: sometimes they even have something to do with the world of football. They are, more likely than not, 'impeccably observed' as commentators never fail to remark.
You see? It's ingrained already: with its own language, ritual, choreography.
And here I think it begins to get tricky for journalists and journalistic organisations. I don't actually believe it's the business of any body of journalists to fall meekly, corporately, into line with whatever the latest Grief Directive may be. Particularly when July 7 for instance was such a political act.
Asking for a silence purely for the British victims with no glance, no hint, no nothing about far, far greater number of equally innocent Muslims killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, seems a pretty cynical piece of spin to me. We of course know from their video statements, that these foreign deaths are precisely why at least two of these young men did what they did that day. The whole business is, surely, a matter of individual conscience?
Or is it? Individual action and proper journalistic response is, at the risk of seeming pompous, being a bit squeezed out in all this. The difficulty with this is that newsreaders and onscreen journos end up looking like - or worse still, look as if they are trying to appear like - precisely the thing they should never be part of: the political establishment and I'm stumped as to why they want to. Or why they want to give the impression that they want to.
Every year I go through this with endless viewers mightily pissed off about my own personal poppy-deficit. It scarcely seems to occur to anybody that (unless I'm missing something big?), the reason we fought two world wars was, precisely for such things to be a matter of personal choice, not cultural coercion.
Why not Breast Cancer week? Christian Aid? RSPB lapel badge? Once you've crossed the line, why bother to re-draw it behind you?
In this context that rather over-the-top phrase Grief Fascism is grimly ironic - but call it what you will, the politicisation of public grief is gaining currency and potency with every year that passes and it's clear there are armies of journos only too happy to march in and join up.
Let's face it. They're salivating over the thought of being up for a political honour. It seems to me obvious that any journalist taking a political honour from any government has a hefty conflict of interest on their hands. Take the gong and you should take the P45 from the boss to go with it.
But does this happen? No chance.
And for those not able to buff up the OBE or MBE in the long winter evenings? Well there are plenty of other opportunities. I understand that scores of hacks involved in Operation Telic aka the invasion of Iraq, have accepted a medal from the MOD. Seriously...
You scarcely know where to begin with this, do you? Is it more bonkers that a government ministry actually thinks it is appropriate to chuck out medals to journos in the 21st century? Or that hacks are, apparently waiting in a meek little line to bow down and accept them?
Medals, political honours, government silence orders and the need to be seen to wear a poppy - well since when did all this cloying need to belong, conform, kowtow and be liked have anything to do with journalism?
Alex Thomson is chief correspondent and main presenter for Channel 4 News. A version of this article first appeared in the Press Gazette. You can find more Alex Thomson articles here.