DISASTERS: THEY'RE ALL ABOUT US
This internal CNN e-mail was the object of a fair amount of mockery yesterday:
1) Summary: The Good Side of the Oil Spill
Name: Gary Hewing (CNN)
Category: Biotech and Healthcare
Media Outlet: CNN
Deadline: 04:00 PM EST - 2 June
Looking for pitches: The Good Side of the Oil Spill - if there is any.
I understand the snickering -- but really, isn't this precisely how we view a lot of horrifying moments in American history?
Didn't many Americans come to regard 9/11, at least for a while, as the day a previously callow president "found his voice," a nation put aside its childish obsession with shark attacks and Gary Condit gossip, and the youth of America began the process of emerging as a "new Greatest Generation"?
Don't many Americans still think of the Challenger disaster as the day seven astronauts went to Heaven -- or, to put it another way, "slipped the surly bonds of earth" to "touch the face of God," in the words of that swell speech by Ronald Reagan? Haven't a lot of Americans really forgotten that people actually died that day because safety concerns weren't sufficiently heeded? Don't many Americans just think of it as a day we (especially impressionable schoolchildren) were fortunate enough to hear an awesome speech? So it was really kind of a good day for America?
Don't a lot of people in this country see World War II and the Great Depression as character-building exercises for the Greatest Generation (the original one)? Don't Southerners think, on some level, that the Civil War was the moment when the human soul (or at least the Southern soul) expressed itself in its most noble and honorable form?
So, really, can you blame that CNN guy for looking at the oil slick and saying, "How will this be good for us?"