I’ve been unable to post lately because I’m mired in construction. (The horror!) Have you enjoyed the peace and quiet?
Meanwhile a specific pattern has emerged around the suffering in Japan. It’s too ridiculous to ignore so I thought I’d toss out a three part comment.
In late 2004 a tsunami hit Indonesia while a Republican president was in office. The press tore at him like jackals. The US launched a massive aid effort but was lambasted as “stingy”. The press used Indonesia to hone the idea that an American President was responsible for and could be blamed for everything; up to and including ocean waves. In August of the next year the pattern was firmly established and ready to go when a hurricane hit New Orleans.
Seven years later a Democrat is president. When a tsunami hit Japan nobody tried to blame him. The president got a free pass for several days. Finally he went golfing and a few people complained.
The press has spoken and the science is settled:
- When something bad happens and a Republican is the president; the press will blame him. Further, no amount of aid or effort is enough.
- When something bad happens and a Democrat is the president; it’s wise to avoid golfing in public.
Making fun of the press is shooting fish in a barrel but I’m easily amused. Luckily even the most deliberately inattentive are noticing the same bias and it’s showing up in measurable ways. Check out this slightly dated but still amusing chart of the New York Times, the LA Times, and newspapers in general going down the tubes. The interesting part is not that newspapers are going south. One could blame iDevices (or Idiocracy style Illiteracy?) for a decline in print media overall. The interesting part is that the same chart shows the Wall Street Journal holding steady.
A few days ago I was in my car (buying yet more building supplies…the horror!) when I heard a news personality on NPR discussing the ever present threat of tsunamis to the island nation. She said “to be Japanese is to live in fear“.
I did an audio double take! Really? To be Japanese is to live in fear? A thousand year old culture is all about fear? Everything from Samurai to Pokemon boils down to abject terror of the ocean? Seems a bit dismissive to me. I suppose a journalist can be forgiven a certain about of hyperbole but I’m not a forgiving sort.
I think our Japanese friends have more going for them than a coastline and weakness. I think the Japanese have and will continue to show themselves to be a resourceful and impressive culture that doesn’t go “all wobbly” in the face of a tragic natural disaster. I wish them the best in their time of despair but would never say that big waves are all that’s there.
(I like to cite anything I can. I couldn’t find the exact quote for a link. I sure would be pleased if I misheard! If anyone finds the appropriate link drop me a line. I’ll either verify that I heard right or hammer out a quick mea culpa.)
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to hanging drywall. Prepare to be ignored for a few days.