Archive for May, 2011

May 24, 2011

What a disaster

Here’s the thing. What happened in Joplin, Missouri, is a terrible, terrible display of what nature is capable of. Here’s what I don’t understand: we say this every time.

Remember Haiti? No? Oh. Bummer. It’s been a little over a year since the earthquake, and we’ve pretty much all forgotten enough to redirect our Red Cross text messaging donations to the next most devastating disaster. (I’m not against donating money or aid, hence the link to the Red Cross donation page. I just think we’re a little misguided.)

There was the tsunami in Sri Lanka, there was Hurricane Katrina, the Icelandic volcano eruption. Earlier this year, we witnessed the horrific Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami and aftershocks. Why are we consistently surprised at the magnitude of these disasters? We know that Earth and her elements are capable of taking us out at any given moment.

Why the extra drama? I know the answer to that question — drama and heartbreak and the plight of the people sell. There’s a reason this image has become one of the most iconic of the Great Depression. We’ve always had a sick fascination with examining the downfall and despair of other people.

I guess what I’m asking for is an overhaul of news media. Disasters happen and they’re sad, but the news is supposed to be unbiased. Maybe that makes me a little cold, to want my reporters and anchors to be stoic in the presentation of events such as these. But separating emotions from facts will allow me to develop completely my own feelings about the terrible things that happen in this world on a daily basis.

Because, in fact, I do care. I care that people everywhere experience horrors every single day, but we only hear about a handful of them. It would surely take up the entire 24-hour news cycle to report on every flood, every tremor, every explosion. Maybe that’s what we need, though, to remind us (Americans, yeah, I’m talking to you) that we are all the same.

May 2, 2011

Good timing

I’ve been considering starting a blog for a while now. Maybe because it’s been a year since I graduated college with a degree in writing and haven’t felt compelled to write about anything since. Maybe it’s because I only have one person with whom I can really talk this kind of stuff out with, and I thought a larger audience (hopefully) would help me sort out some of my thoughts. Or perhaps it’s because I’m hoping that someone out there shares my apathy about the world and can make me feel like less of a schmuck for not finding significance in what’s happening in the world to America in the same way that other Americans tend to.

So I guess I chose a good day to start this blog. In my first display of apathy, I guess Osama bin Laden is dead. Cool…?

I feel like there are 2 camps regarding this new development: those who are celebrating in the streets and those who have mixed feelings about celebrating the death of anyone, even if he was kind of a shitty dude.

My apathy about his death comes in knowing that it doesn’t change much in the grand scheme of things. Al Qaeda is still a powerful entity without him, and I’m sure they have backup leaders waiting in the wings in the event that something like this would occur. In addition, because his death came so late after 9/11, I fail to see the relationship between the two and how his death serves any purpose in righting the tragedy of that day. I’m fairly indifferent to the concept of justice in this case. My views on capital punishment are for a different post, but I rarely think death rights wrongs. Bin Laden’s demise doesn’t rebuild towers or reunite families. It’s just another event that will bring us together as a country for a short while, before we remember that we still violently disagree with our neighbors on things that are happening at home.

In the future, when my children are assigned projects with the prompts of, “Ask your parents where they were on 9/11 and where they were when they heard Osama bin Laden had been killed,” I’m not sure I’ll remember the details. I was relatively young on 9/11 — thirteen and in 8th grade homeroom when we heard the news — and didn’t completely understand the significance of the event or what it meant for my future as an American adult. I didn’t consider myself politically aware until late high school-early college, and with the views I hold now, I understand why people feel the way they do regarding bin Laden’s death. However, it just creates more questions that everyone will think they have the right answers to. It will just deepen the political divide in this country that is hindering us now more than ever.

Celebrate if you want, but don’t put me on your guest list for any parties you may throw. I’m not convinced you’re celebrating for the right reasons, whatever those may be. I’ll wait until there’s someone whose death warrants a decision.

Apathetically yours.