“At worst, the nuclear meltdown in Japan is localized. There will be little to no consequences for anyone who doesn’t step inside the plant itself.” So said an Iowa-based nuclear industry expert on CNN this morning. ”In a few weeks the world will be lauding the entire nuclear power industry for its foresight, genius and selfless effort.”
Moments later on the same network, another expert drew an official Diagram to Disaster on a whiteboard. This frantic fellow looked as though his own rods were about to melt through his suit, right there on camera.
I live in Montana, and I closed the windows on the west side of the house just in case.
…The lure of news coverage, the barrage of ‘experts’, the agony of defeat in the face of forces beyond our control…
My tummy turns when I hear Japanese Disaster Music, played over slick, awful slides at the beginning and end of each news segment on MSNBC. Cue up Arial Boldface Black on a banner of Pantone Red 032. Yeah, that’s it. Perfect.
I resent the committees that put together banner headlines, trying to find just the right phrases and colors.
I resent all the news commentators who elbow their microphones amid the debris, having flown from afar. It’s embarrassing. No matter how honest their emotions, it’s hard to watch broadcasters swoop down, get good footage and leave.
The earthquake, the tsunami, these are made-for-TV disasters. The cleanup, the long-term suffering, not so much.
Don’t fret. We’ll have plenty of fresh tragedy to exploit. It’s been a veritable souk of suffering out there.
There was a perfect escalation from Tunisia (a barely heard of, vaguely exotic repressed state with successful rebellion that began as a food fight) bustin’ through Yemen, and then Egypt (Boo! Hiss! We knew this despot and his Suez Canal, where foreign funds are thicker than Semitic family feuds).
Then–it was just perfect–right at the height of TV sweeps-Libya! A bona fide crazy ass despot, Act III. Like many third acts, it was starting to sag a little. Obama had given an ultimatum to Ghadaffi that he had to leave, then sent the message that if he had the audacity to do so, Ghadaffi would face prosecution for crimes against humanity. The suspense! It was like Shakespeare with prayer rugs and automatic weapons (mostly on Ghadaffi’s side).
The ill-equipped, hard-scrabble Libyan rebels have lost our eyes and our hearts to walls of water and broken H-O scale train sets of Japanese villages.
The Japanese tragedy is huge and far away. No despot, just victims. Hey, that last show, it was dragging anyway.
The Libyans, without our momentum and goodwill, have lost precious ground. The Libyan Revolution has gone into syndication, which is a bloody shame. No one likes stale TV.
They should have known better. They should have completed their revolution during Sweeps month. Japan? Who knows how long you will have our eye.