Monday 14 March 2011

Bad Taste and the Japan Tsunami

Just a quick one to say my heart goes out to all those affected by the devastating events in Japan this past week. As natural disasters go, the earthquake and the vicious tsunami it stirred up seem to me to eclipse the vast majority of the other awfulnesses which have befallen the world in recent memory.

But I'm not reviewing the godforsaken thing.

Other than to wish everyone affected well, I wanted to bring up one other thing. To the geek news aggregator sites... to the Kotakus and io9s of the internet (and who knows how many other similar resources; I don't follow them all): remember this is a tragedy. A tragedy that's left thousands dead and uncountable thousands more without a thing in the world to call their own. This is human horror on an unfathomable scale, for most of us, and while I can appreciate that looking in from the outside this sort of shit might seem familiar - another day, another tragedy, you know - whatever it is, it IS NOT a jumping-off point for the sordid "news" stories I've seen on both of the aforementioned aggregators.

A press event you may or may not have planned to attend has been cancelled, Kotaku? Really? That's what you're going to lament?

And that additional downloadable characters for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 have been delayed? I mean, no shit!

Nor am I entirely convinced a report on self-healing concrete which might one day help prevent some of the widespread destruction that has ravaged Japan was entirely appropriate. To its credit, io9 was at least a touch more constructive in its related coverage than certain other resources. Still, I won't be dignifying any of these so-called stories with links.


Usually what constitutes bad taste depends entirely on perspective. In this case, I think we can all agree: this is not the time for flippancy, or off-hand remarks, or cheap, hit-mongering stunts passed off as if they were news anyone needs, by Christ. This is a time to help in whichever way you can. Direct your million visitors to donate to a charity which can actually those in need.

Tell them to go here, and give whatever they can afford to aid the Red Cross in their very real efforts, for instance.

Just don't dare brush these terrible events off by talking about how development of the next Metal Gear Solid seems to have escaped the tsunami unscathed, or how in the future, natural disasters will be all fun and games because we'll have bloody sci-fi on our side.

Get a little fucking perspective. People are dead.


  1. Exactly that. Sickmaking.

    - Andrew

  2. I hadn't seen the articles in question until now, but I agree with you completely. The ammount of comments that are sickeningly insensitive* or just purely concerned with your own life has really surprised me.

    *really, when it comes to things like the pearl harbor/facebook thing (, though, checking now, more non-bigots seem to have come out of the woodwork.