Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami and the Power of TV

We don’t have cable or get good reception at home, so I don’t watch TV. However, I do watch it when I travel. I’m on the road this week (Amarillo, TX – the high plains) and I’m watching tsunami coverage. The images and interviews with survivors are moving and powerful. It is one thing to read them, but actually seeing their faces, the sadness in their eyes, really personalizes and intensifies the tragedy. It reminds me of the faces I met walking through New York City after 9/11, where sadness literally weighed down the air. Yet having experienced that I can’t imagine what these people must being going through. Words fail:

Don’t sign your name
between worlds,

surmount
the manifold of meanings

trust the tearstain,
learn to live.

--Paul Celan, Glottal Stop, trans. Nikolai Popov & Heather McHugh, p.108

(ps: I started with the idea of writing a snarky commentary on how bad CNN’s title for its tsunami coverage, Turning the Tide, is, but that quickly seemed pointless and inappropriate.)

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