Monday, February 9, 2009

See Spot, See Spot Run, See Spot Run from Fire

For me, blogging has not made the world smaller. But it has made it more familiar.

I talk (and sometimes it's a one-way conversation) with people from many parts of the world, so I think about areas that never occurred to me (much) before, and now they cross my mind almost daily. What's going on, what are you seeing, thinking?

Which brings me to Australia. I can't imagine what term will be coined for these fires eventually, but coined it will be, because that's the news business. No revelation here, but newspapers, sites, radio, thrive on disasters. Coming from the newspaper business, I know disaster sells at a nominal investment. Most of our offices were decorated with the front pages of horrific moments in history, because those moments were days of triumph; circulation surged.

But ok, the paper and the audience got what we needed, or at least, wanted. Information. So when I went to the NY Times and LA Times sites to find a map and information about the fires in Australia, instead I found videos, lots of videos. Because now that most of these news institutions are owned by pure businessmen, the philosophy is that we, the audience, can only assimilate stories and pictures that move across a screen, and are full of bathos, and are gone in 60 seconds. They truly believe this is what we want rather than, you know, news.

It took Julie's site at Sydney eye to give me any taste of what is actually going on down there down under. Including an absolutely brilliant picture of what was and will not be again. I encourage you to visit.

More than 200 lives lost, and countless homes. No rain in sight. For those with a few spare dollars, here's the red cross link for donations


  1. What a lovely post, and your comments about video being shown by the NY Times and LA Times are spot on. Well done, and thanks for the link.

  2. I remember a few years ago when horrible wildfires destroyed a couple of the mountain communities east of San Diego. Cuyamaca was a once lovely village that is lost to the ages. I hope they can rebuild someday.

  3. Eerie, isn't it, how much this part of Australia looks like California -- a little north of Los Angeles; Santa Barbara, maybe, or Santa Ynez.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I saw it on the news. It's crazy. And so very much like California. It seems that the nicest areas you could live are also the most likely to burn downs, fall off a cliff, wiped out by mudslides or swallowed by an earthquake.

  6. What makes this fire truly frightening is the death tole. People have been caught in their cars trying to make a run for it. I met a fellow who got caught in the same predicament in the Malibu fires a couple of decades ago. Terrible burns.

  7. Julie has an amazing gift. Her post today brought me to tears. I had no idea. Thanks KB for bringing it to everyone's attention here. We need to be aware of each other's pain. We are a community after all.

  8. Thank you for the post, Karin and for the thoughts and wishes from you and your readers/friends.
    I have responded by email to your comment just now.

    The Australian Red Cross has set up a fund to assist those who have lost everything. It can be accessed here

    I agree with the comments about the similar landscapes. I am beginning to realise that many of our peoples share the same values.

    With deep appreciation and affection


  9. This whole tragedy is hard to process. Thanks for pointing us to Julie's post. I linked to it from my sidebar, too.

  10. Disasters is actually one of the beats at my publication - and we're a financial services trade pub. What a statement on the value of disasters.

    The new media can try all it wants to dumb me down, but I'm not having it. I decide when brain cells die, thankuverymuch.

    Loved the pig post! Are those yours? I suspect you're a far more accomplished homesteader than you're letting on ...

  11. I realize I read your post then ran off to Julie's and never commented here.

    Thanks for linking us to Julie. I've seen her astute comments on other blogs and never clicked on her site. I don't always look at who the other commenters are. I put the Australian Red Cross link on my blog thanks to her, and to you. I hope it does some good.

    There is tragedy all day, every day, around the world. War, death, dying, horror upon horror. John and I had our cable disconnected. We haven't watched TV in so long. We can find the best and worst coverage on the internet and take our pick. Or not.

  12. the TV footage is horrific. God go with these people