POP CULTURE: Why We Love Disaster News
In another incident today ten people died in a terrible (inaudible) crash there was a huge fireball… Female Reporter: After days of torrential rain the landslide completely buried the house killing the inhabitants, 32 Male Reporter 2: Shortly after take-off the plane’s left-handed jet blew up. Passengers reported hearing a bang before (fades) Female Reporter 2: When the giant crocodile rushed to him and ate his leg in one bite. Alain: We all love watching news of disasters. It’s embarrassing, but true. We like hearing about car crashes, we really love plane crashes, we’re fascinated by landslides, We quite enjoy train dropping incidents, we’re fascinated by deadly scorpions that bite holiday-makers, and we’re really pretty gripped by crocodiles. It all looks like the lowest distraction. What monsters we are; rubber-necking the scenes of tragedy on the worst day of other people’s lives. But it isn’t all trivial. We’re trying to get at something important by looking at tragedy. We’re trying, somehow, to keep in mind that life is fragile for all of us. It might not be a plane crash that finishes us off, or a fierce crocodile. It might just be a slow cancer or the gradual wearing away of time, but it will happen. And yet our lives go wrong because we don’t keep death in mind enough. Death is the most terrible thing, but we can evoke the thought of death to evoke what life should be about. It’s this powerful fact that may be at the back of our minds when we rush to check up on the latest disaster. We’re not being ghoulish. We’re simply searching for the meaning of life. We’re reminding ourselves to do our hopes and talents justice in the time that remains. The thought of death has the power not only to stir our fears, but also to strengthen our resolve to appreciate more fully and use more wisely the present moment. To reform our priorities and to be kind, grateful, and serious. In case tomorrow never comes.