2015-12-22 – In my last post I tried to parody the shrillness of today’s media with the “breaking news” of daybreak. You all know what it’s like. We’re all so over-the-top that the banner “breaking news” is a permanent feature, not a rare occurrence.
When I was a kid, true breaking news was introduced on TV with the words: “We interrupt this program to bring you a special bulletin.” This happened, maybe, once a year. Twice is there was a severe weather event. Today, there are no programs. We binge watch special bulletins.
The adrenalin flows.
Today I stumbled upon an odd video. You can watch it here, if you want. The posters of the video call in “shocking,” of course. How else do you get attention for your work? It’s not really shocking—in the special bulletin sense. What it is, is thought provoking. And I’m going to tell you what’s shocking about it so you don’t have to sit through it.
There are two things. The first is the tally of the 10s of millions of people who died during World War II. That’s shocking, but we knew that. The other thing is the amazingly low number of people (by comparison) who have died in all conflicts since World War II.
I don’t mean to diminish the value of each human life lost in today’s wars at all. But think about how riled up we get. How would we have handled the news from World War II?
The next time you think that things can’t possibly get any worse. Think again. They can. They have been worse. Worse by a lot. And your parents or your grandparents lived through it. And what’s more, they emerged from World War II with some measure of courage, compassion, and generosity still intact.