Thursday, March 17, 2011

Who's Your Hero?

Mollie writes:

One of the joys of writing a blog is that you can put your feelings into words and then post it for the universe to see. It tends to make a writer want to purify herself a bit before hitting the keyboard.

First, let me say that Millie, Maggie and May have their own opinions about the Japanese earthquake and the resulting response. I just know my own opinion, and I'm saddened by how the media is currently representing our concerns with the tragedy.

We have a bazillion talking heads on the news these days, lecturing us on the hazards of nuclear fallout. The lead story in the news isn't the earthquake itself or the tsunami itself, but the threat of nuclear waste in the air. Buildings may collapse or wash away, but all CNN (and other news outlets) are filling the air with fear and loathing at a time when millions of people are actively dealing with immediate devastation. The nuclear power plants possible meltdown isn't the only news, but by my guess, it's the lead (that's with a long "e" and not with an "eh") story everywhere.

There's a reason some folks think that Americans are self-absorbed. We have troops fighting in the Middle East (my oldest is deployed), Egypt and Libya are in serious political turmoil and children go missing every day. But we tend to focus on the sensational and the outrageous. What IS Charlie Sheen doing these days and will Lindsey Lohan go to jail?????

Last night we had Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper (go figure, a talent judge and a 'journalist') interviewing MIT professors for their take on the possibility of a meltdown in Japan's reactors. How do they know what questions to ask? Why do they keep arguing with people who have earned the right to an educated opinion? Is there radiation in the air, and is it coming on a wind plume to your front door? Never mind that the death toll in Japan is rising, that rescuers need blankets and flashlights, and that entire villages were wiped out. News reports are driven by ratings and advertising, not science.

I'm tired of seeing reporters in tight black t-shirts reporting on this tragedy while 180 technical experts are robed in HazMat suits trying to clean up the mess. I'm tired of Hollywood exploiting a true tragedy (remember the earthquake and tsunami?) while ramping up the hysteria about a "possible man-made disaster."

Aren't the natural ones enough?

For centuries, quiet heros have been descending into coal mines with pink lungs and emerging with Black Lung. But it took trapped Chilean miners to get our attention on the hazards of coal mining. And, please, don't get me started on endangered salmon . . . while some of us are worrying about keeping the lights on and the hospitals running, some of us are fretting over the taste of wild salmon versus farmed salmon.

We need to set our egos aside and remember what's important. We will find out soon enough if we will experience nuclear devastation. I'm thinking "NO". Remember back in the 50's (those of us boomers who survived hallucinogenic drugs, STD's and other "man made" disasters)? Soviets, Americans and other world powers were detonating atomic bombs on a regular basis into our atmosphere even as we built hydroelectric dams that are now being shut down because our salmon doesn't taste as good.

It's time to stop fussing over the Sheens, Lohans, Ryders, and Simpsons. I really don't need to hear what Ed Asner thinks about politics, or Barbra Streisand thinks about Ronald Reagan. What I do care about is how are the Japanese doing and where do we go from here.

Get a grip. "Endangered" salmon (and other cosmetic disasters) are passe. Let's worry about the future.

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