With the disastrous sequence of events taking place in Japan (9.0 earthquake, tsunami, nuclear blowouts followed by radiation fears) you would think that people all over the world are talking about it. However, it just doesn’t seem to be the main topic of conversation here in Indiana. A total of three people have discussed the dire straights of Japan with me (that includes B.B.). You know how you often hear people talking about major news events in public? Well, there has been no mention of it in the local grocery stores, cafés or restaurants. It just doesn’t seem to be a prominent point of discussion (right now, more people are talking about basketball with the start of March Madness).
I am quite sure that people in Vancouver are closely following the situation in Japan and I’ve had quite a few people from Canada e-mail me about it (some people were just checking in to make sure that I wasn’t traveling over there). Vancouver is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in North America, an obvious reason why international news tends to get more coverage in Canadian local news than in local American news. Local news in Indiana briefly covers international news stories, but if you want to details on world news, you have to tune into CNN (but I don’t have CNN right now, so I have been watching local news and following outside news sources on the web).
Not understanding current events can easily lead one to become misinformed about the world. It reminds me of last summer when I was having a coffee one morning and I overheard some older guys a few tables away talking about Canadian currency. Not only were they incorrect about the value of the Canadian dollar, which they thought was far lower than the American dollar (it was close to being on par at the time–and still is today). They also added that “Canada has over 6 months of winter.”
A disaster is a disaster regardless of where it takes place and it’s not fair to say that people here don’t care, but it does seem that people are only interested in the news that is local and national. International news barely raises an eyebrow. It’s a shame, really.