It's reprehensible, in my eyes, that this matters MORE than the 70-odd folks who probably have gotten shot in Ivory Coast within the last 24 hours, or the Chinese government displacing millions of people in the Three Gorges section of the Yang-tze to build the largest hydroelectric project on the planet, or the starvation that runs rampant in Iraq, or...
Jesus, people. Get a fucking sense of proportion.
I've had a few conversations with people about the above, which is why I'm editing this post. It'd be unfair to yank what I initially posted and post something different, ergo setting it in italics.
Yes, this problem impacts the space program. That is bad- we need setbacks in the US space program at this juncture like we need bullets to the head. My concern is in main that the reason this is bad is getting labelled as 'seven people died, it's so horrible'. There's a lack of proportion. Towards a sense of proportion, I advance the following:
More than 7 people died exploring the American west. I think more than Apollo 1 + Challenger's 7 + Columbia's 7 were lost to that, too. Did the chain of tragedies involved in the Monroe Doctrine send the entire nation into a day of mourning? No. Why does this one?
A friend of mine suggested that we respond more strongly to local tragedy more than with distant tragedy; it's part of how human beings are built, basically. 'Local tragedy' involves a definition wherein anything that happens on the haunted fishtank in the livingroom is local. This begs a question: why doesn't the haunted fishtank show us the Ivory Coast? Why doesn't the haunted fishtank report to us the face of how miserable people being displaced up and down Three Gorges are?
Before you say 'this isn't what TV is for', think back to the 80's- starvation in Africa was rampant in the face of a huge drought. Ethiopian kids were starving like mad. Someone (Namely, Bob Geldoff) got together a bunch of public celebrities and made this problem local to us. And we responded. Why is it so much more important that these seven people we saw on television, read about, etcetera, died? On a strictly objective scale? It's not.
The lack of ability to respond with reason here is what is troubling to me. I am not trying to say 'no no who gives a shit, so what' in regards the sad events this morning. I'm trying to say that this sad event is not MORE IMPORTANT than other sad events that happened this morning-- but because of the folks who make shapes dance on the haunted fishtank, you don't even know about these other tragedies. And these events seem just as unpleasantly a betrayal of one of the greater dreams of mankind, to me. A friend of mine is tying the knot with the woman he's been seeing for several years... and the media circus about this is certainly going to overshadow anything about their silly little dream.