Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Time to stop the bleeding

Children worry a lot, even if they don't express it. They worry that their parents will die, they worry about problems that occur half a world away, not realizing that some of the problems are not a direct local threat. ("No, sweetie, we don't get tsumanis here in central London.") Is it good to be globally and politically aware? Yes. Is a certain level of insensitivity to life's tragedies good for one's health? Also yes. The constant barrage of inescapable doom and gloom frightens young children and continues to keep the more sensitive adults among us in a constant low level state of depression and fear.

It seems that everywhere we turn today, we are expected to care and weep for the world's many victims of opression, injustice and the environment. Including animals.

The BBC announcer's funereal tone of voice drifted over the radio waves early one morning last week. BBC announcers take the cake when it comes to "gravitas."

"A Royal penguin found stranded on a New Zealand beach 2,000km (1,200 miles) from its Antarctic home has died.

Lisa Argilla, a vet at Wellington Zoo, said they suspected it had suffered multiple organ failure.

The bird, which was dehydrated and starving . . . . ."

Enough! This is one bird thousands of miles away, not your dear grandmother, the gruesome details of whose death would not be shared with the grandchildren. Why is this one misbegotten bird considered international news? I call it news pollution. Its toxic effects are insinuated into the cellular energy of anyone within earshot, even half a world away.


  1. Re: Children and worrying

    I grew up in the U.S. during the Cold War.

    I can remember when our teachers would show us movies about the nuclear weapons threat from the (former) Soviet Union and the need to "learn" to protect ourselves.

    We were taught a 'Duck and Cover' drill.

    In short, we were taught to jump out of our chairs and onto the floor, cover our heads by climbing under our school desks.

    Because of the movies and the drills, I used to have nightmares that the (former) Soviets were attacking the U.S. with nuclear bombs.

    Thinking back on those days, I cannot begin to understand how any sane adult would think that climbing under a desk would protect a child from the fallout of a nuclear warhead on an inter-continental ballistic missle.

    I suppose the expression, "A nuclear bomb can ruin the whole day" comes to mind.

    And I suppose a 'Duck and Cover' drill can ruin a good night's sleep for a young kid.


  2. Duane,
    Funny you should mention it. When I rewrote this post I edited out listening to the Cuban missile crisis using a crystal radio that clipped to the radiator in my bedroom. (I didn't want to remind myself how OLD I really am.) But, we did the same under the desk drill when I was at school in Montreal. When you mention how you wonder how any sane adult would think that going under a desk would help you survive nuclear war, it makes the point that so much of what happens today will be viewed as equally insane given time and distance.
    Thanks for the memories,

  3. I guess we both aged ourselves, again, huh?

    Be well,



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