Thursday, December 18, 2008

The disconnect

Whenever I come home, one of the things that strikes me about America is the massive disconnect the average American seems to have from the rest of the world. The lack of international news coverage is striking - the Metro (a free daily magazine distributed on London's transport network) has more international coverage than most American newspapers.

I'd woken up at 5.30 am this morning (jetlag is always so much fun) and was sitting in my parent's sitting room watching the morning 'news'.

It's currently snowing in Seattle and the surrounding area. They kept going on about something called a 'convergence zone' and how this was causing the snow. Now, it doesn't snow very often in Seattle, and when it does, I'll agree that everything tends to go to hell. People can't drive, cars slide off the road, everything shuts down.

However.

For two and a half hours, all the news talked about was the snow.

After an hour, I was getting a bit pissed listening to people talk about TEH SNO. Which was the worst snow ever. Ever to exist. The maw of hell was opening, and it was happening in Seattle, in the form of TEH SNO.

After another hour of TEH SNO (which clearly signaled the end of the world), a little bit of rage was developing. So far, we had covered TEH SNO, a guy getting married for the fifth time, and about thirty seconds of the conviction of one of the men behind the Rwandian genocide in 1994. But mostly we were covering TEH SNO.

It really worries me, this total lack of coverage of things happening in the rest of the world. I'd imagine that the 'average' American has no idea about what's happening with the Canadian parliment, the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, or anything other than their own back yard.

This can't be healthy for a country that, simply, thinks they have a righteous fight to wage in this world. I don't know how to change it, fix it, or try to focus more of America's attention outward, but it needs to happen.

Otherwise, I think the world is going to be in trouble.

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