Just A Little Attention

November 19, 2008

The New York Times has a story today about the plight of communities devastated by Ike.  It’s nice to get just a little attention from the national media.

We here in Southeast Texas see these stories in the local newspaper and the local TV news every day.  It seems to some of us that unlike previous years, the country now has a sort of “hurricane fatigue”.  Or maybe it’s “disaster fatigue.”  Stories about Mother Nature’s latest fury used to last for weeks and months.  Now they rise and fall in a few days, leaving the hurricane-blighted coast and the fire-blighted hills to rebuild as if in shadows, largely ignored in favor of politics and the financial crisis.

People have a shorter attention span these days.  We don’t read as many books we once did, and instead we read pages.  We network and tweet and have cryptic asides on our text messages.  That is, when we’re not actually talking on the phone while pretending to ourselves that we’re listening to a store clerk or really paying attention to traffic. There are some of us who seemingly don’t know what to do or how to make decisions without an electronic tether constantly connecting them to parents, to siblings, to friends.  And yet, in some ways this constant flow of information and interaction makes us more ignorant and inattentive than ever before.

Can we just take a time out now?  Can we just stop and pay a little attention?


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