Are you comfortably numb?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A whale of a story... I don't think

Walking home from a night out last night, I experienced one of those blissful moments when you discover that a feeling you thought was unique to yourself is shared by at least one other person.

The feeling, in this case, was indignance and outrage at the fact that the appearance of a whale in London can dominate headlines for so long.

Now I'm not denying the story is newsworthy; it's interesting, it 'captivated the hearts of Londoners', everyone was on tenterhooks waiting to find out if the poor creature was going to survive. Let's face it, we don't often see a whale, let alone a whale in London.

Nevertheless, I find it depressingly symptomatic of the insular attitude of our country that we care more about what happens to this whale than many of the other events that are occurring daily around the world. We may sneer at the Americans for being inward-looking and unaware of global events, but we are in danger of being just as guilty as them - and what's more, we're hypocrites.

When was the last time you saw a news bulletin that encompassed events from more than 1 or 2 continents? And when was the last time those continents weren't Europe or America?

When the Argentinian economic crisis occurred, it just about made the news in Britain. But it should have been a massive story. And after all, it's totally relevant to us, as it's our multi-nationals who helped screw them over (why on earth wouldn't they want to report that over here?) Not to mention the Bolivian water crisis for which we were partly responsible. How about Asian and African politics? We are a nation of ostriches who care not about world affairs. So next time you slag off an American for not knowing where Belgium is, think about the last time you paid attention to the rest of the world.

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