Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pardon My Cynacism

Having spent all but the last year or so of my life in the west, I am more than accustomed to hearing about drought and forest fires. I've even seen several from a less than comfortable distance.
The past couple of days, I find myself glued to the internet reading the news and looking at the countless pictures of the fires in California. The images are frightening. Knowing that there is so much destruction, so much devastation, is overwhelming. (We have some dear friends that are there and are, thankfully, safe.)
Being as obsessed with the stories as I have been, I was more than a little disgusted today to see this headline..."Stars Whose Homes Are In Danger." Really? Do we really live in a society where we are more concerned with which tv, movie or music star's home may be destroyed by fire? Please don't get me wrong, I do not want to see anyone's home destroyed. I hate the thought of anyone losing their home, their possessions, their memories. The story itself didn't bother me. It's the absence of the other stories that disturbs me. What about John Q. Public and his wife Jane who worked for forty years to finally afford their dream home? What about Sara, the single mom of three children who lost the only rental home they could afford? I'm sure all those folks who could afford their $17 million or more homes aren't too worried about whether or not they have enough insurance coverage. It's the average folks who are laying on a cot in a shelter somewhere praying that they will be able to re-build. It's those people, who struggle to make ends meet, that I feel sorry for. It's those people whose stories should be headlines. I really don't care that John Travolta was overwhelmed by the smoke when he flew in to attend some awards show. Or that Tori Spelling gave an exclusive interview to Access Hollywood about how her gardener had to pack up and leave the estate. I do care about the little children who can't attend school because of the smoke. I do care about the thousands of people who have had to evacuate and don't know if they will have homes to go home to. Those are the stories that are worth reading. What a shame those stories aren't the ones being printed.


Paulette said...

I hear you! I thought the same thing. That's what stars do best, hit the headlines, whether they should or not!! My brother lives too close for comfort to one of those huge wild fires. The numbers of people affected are staggering.. the damage already known is heart wrenching. I've been praying for everyone to be okay and hope that somehow, they can regain control of this natural disaster soon!

Lanna said...

No kidding, Jodie! I mentioned the $17M homeowner in my blog because I like what she said, but I admit that I have tuned out the Malibu fires and focused on the San Diego ones. I want to know about the emergency personnel who are fighting the fire while their homes burn (I'm sure there's more than one out there). What about the elderly couple that can't drive. Who is going to rescue them (and the cat or dog they will inevitably have with them)?
There's also another angle, too, for those in the Lake Arrowhead area--can they get fire insurance knowing that they live in a fire-prone area? What about their homes? My mom's uncle owned a cabin there. Is it still standing (even if the family no longer owns it)?
I will point out one interesting snippet. In most other countries of the world, the poorer you are, the higher up the hill/mountain/whatever you live. Only in the United States do wealthier people live in the mountains. I would venture a guess that most people affected by the fires are those who are in a higher tax bracket to begin with. It doesn't lessen the tragedy for them (or us common folks), but at least most of them do have insurance. And, they had warning--they could grab what was most precious to them as they left their homes.
All said, you're right--who wants to hear that poor Tori had to excuse her gardener early or that a socialite lost part of her Elvis collection? It's revolting.