I’ve been meaning to say something about Japan and the problems they’re having there. At first I was mesmerised by the footage of the giant wave spreading over the land and for a day or so couldn’t get enough of the news. With all of these kind of things though it hits a certain point and the news services go further than they need to and it’s basically just disaster porn. _All_ of them do it. I gave up on Australia’s SBS ages ago, I’m wary of the ABC’s angle, and this time I found that even the BBC’s news website was doing it. First it’s a picture of a small car on top of a house. Then it’s a picture of a passenger ferry on a multi-storey carpark. Then it’s a full sized ocean-going ship, but on the ground and not on top on an apartment block — I’m sure there were some disappointed faces at the bbc news dept over that.
I was going to write on here two days back that the news on the nuclear situation was also being sensationalised but it’s still getting worse and it’s another situation (a little like wikileaks) where it’s almost impossible to chart a path between sensationalism, propaganda and counter-propaganda.
The question of How could this happen? for me, keeps coming back to it being a pretty bloody bad idea for Japan to have gone with nuclear power to begin with considering the likelihood of earthquakes happening there.
Ex-g/f jean passed through Sendai two hours before the tsunami and wrote about it <a href=”http://designmejaynedarcy.blogspot.com/2011/03/japan-earthquake.html”>here</a>. She makes a very good point about over-consumption. It’s bad here too but not as bad as in Japan from what I’ve seen. I thought it was interesting that recently here in Korea fuel prices shot up in response to the situation in Libya and the govt was saying that they were going to ask businesses to turn off their neon signs (<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/toomanythoughts/3625233868/”>like this</a>). They’re basically garish and cause light-pollution like no other place has on Earth. Nice to know this is what the fossil fuels are being used to power. Almost as bad as the Japanese chain starting at a nuclear power plant and ending at an artificially warmed toilet seat.
With Korea, I sometimes think that the over-consumption is part of the over-compensation phenomenon that goes back to the poverty days of the late 1950s and 60s. But Japan doesn’t really have that excuse. It seems to be more about how one group of people do something, then others follow. It becomes a behaviour and the almost like a tradition or an accepted norm. It can go both ways – positive or negative. Unfortunately (for example) littering here is mostly an accepted behaviour. As someone who grew up in a country where littering is definitely not acceptable, I’ve never been able to get my head around the thinking of people when they litter here. I guess it’s basically an unconscious behaviour learnt through observation.