Week 4 | Destruction | Contents
Disaster is a big, dangerous word. It comes in many forms but leaves the same thing behind every time; destruction - perfect for the movies.
There are those disaster movies orchestrated by Mother Nature; great swells flood and divine winds hurricane, avalanche and earth-shake etc.
Then there is the endemic, a spread of virus, dread and/or undead.
Transportation disaster narratives are common with convict captured airplanes, rogue submarines and kick-caboose runaway trains.
Even theme parks can host disaster if you try and grow dinosaurs. Although, that treads on the toes of the monster-based disaster flick – where house-sized footprints stroll around town.
However, there is no disaster quite so disastrous as those that take place in space – the infinity of its scale and the utter-ness of its consequence make it a disaster beyond words – there is no sequel if the meteor actually strikes.
Real disasters are more real and to more people than ever before. In a lecture on TED, James Surowiecki identifies the moment when social media changed the way we would perceive global disasters forever: the 2005 tsunami, when YouTube video, blogs, instant messages and texts led the news and captured the entire story as it happened. Aid and donation sites had been set up before the film crews had arrived. The Internet saved lives in the weeks following the disaster. That is the most important thing.
Of significantly less importance is the fact that the outside world’s first glimpse of the disaster was not a solemn-toned reporter ‘at the scene’ when the tide had past, but instead footage of the warning signs glaring in retrospect and the first realization and the panic; disaster reality television.