Monday, December 27, 2004

Back when -I- was a kid, the world was a better place ... right ?

While wandering around the web looking at various reports on the earthquake that hit SE Asia yesterday, I came across a phrase along the lines of "... and in 2 weeks, everybody will have forgotten about this". That sentence made me start thinking about something that's been bugging me for a while, namely that I seem to have a really poor memory for momentous "world" events. The only major event I can think of in 2003 was the US invasion of Iraq, but there must have been a lot more things that happened on the world stage that I thought were noteworthy [alas, the oracle of Google isn't helping me -- a few searches haven't found a list of the major events of 2003], yet somehow I have no recollection of any of them. It seems like so many insane things are happening nowadays [Yushenko being poisoned, a 20 million pound bank robbery in Ireland, the 8.9 quake in SE Asia etc] that there isn't time for any of them to sink in enough that you can actually remember them for more than a couple of weeks.

The question I have is: are there really more crazy things happening than used to be the case or do we just have much better media coverage, so we're getting news from all over the world [that we weren't getting before]? I'd like to think it's the latter, because it would mean that things aren't going to hell in a handbasket any more so than they were before, it's just that we've gotten better at reporting the speed, heading and contents of the handbasket. However, I fear it's the former.

... and that's it for this installment of "End-of-the-year doom and gloom". Tune in next week for a discussion on "Today's teenagers: should we shoot them all and start over ?"


Blogger Affable said...

It's seemed for the last few years that things are getting progressively worse in the world. Then again, we're both about the same age and getting older. We could simply be succumbing to fogeyism, as you fear.

But there have been some pretty bad things before the last couple years. Remember the quake in Turkey that killed 10's of thousands? Genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia? The civil wars reducing parts of africa to children killing other children?

Excuse me, I have to go curl up into a ball and suck my thumb now :(

4:29 AM  
Blogger oHoToS said...

Now, just over a week after this horrible quake it becomes unlikely that it will be forgotten anytime soon. But why? Even though this catastrophe did not occur in the western world thousands of western tourists were touched by it... Anyone remembers the cyclone in Bangladesh in 1991? As for me I didn't until after reading it in stories related to the asian quake, I vaguely remember that there were heavy floods with a high death toll in Bangladesh several times but the over 130000 dead in 1991 - didn't remember that specifically! I really think that the media coverage of this kind of events has gotten better over the past few years but ultimately we tend to remember only the events that touch us more closely. A lot of events like genocides in Africa or horrible earthquakes in Asia pop up in the news from time to time but are forgotten within a few days even though they are as horrible as 9/11, Hiroshima and other events that have their place in history.

6:36 AM  

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