For almost a decade, the U.S. has anticipated the moment it could tell the world with confidence: Osama bin Laden is dead.
Sources say that America’s most wanted was tracked down and killed at a mansion just a couple of hours' drive from the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Not in the Tora Bora caves. Not in the remote mountains of Waziristan. Osama bin Laden was – apparently – found in relative comfort.
The man whose image will forever be entwined with the indelible scenes of 9/11 is now a corpse under U.S. ownership. It’s an iconic occasion for President Obama and for the country as a whole. But its significance will only become apparent in time. Does martyrdom await? Will bin Laden’s death serve only to assemble the disparate factions of al Qaeda? FULL POST
But of course I jest. The world’s only ginger Welsh antipodean political leader deserves a party after all she’s been through since she took office.
I am still avoiding my point.
While I wasn’t waiting with baited breath for my own invitation to the royal nuptials – or indeed rehearsing fake delight ahead of the distant chance any acquaintance might be among the chosen few - two words are lodged in my craw. Joss Stone.
I can accept Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. At least she flirts in royal circles and occasionally persuades the world that Duncan from Blue has more to offer us than Eurovision or bisexuality "shockers".
I can even accept Posh ‘n’ Becks. At least they guarantee viewership from the jaded brigade who don’t do royal but refuse to succumb to totally common (yes – you, Katie Price).
But Joss Stone? Really? Not Adele? Not Laura Marling? Not even Amy Winehouse? At least she’d be worth a laugh. A castoff from Jane McDonald’s “Star for a Night” gets to brush past the bouncers at the biggest event of the year?
Fergie might have felt aggrieved if her namesake from the Black Eyed Peas had been asked along. But Joss Stone?!
Joss, sweetheart... This turn of events is not super duper and very few people are diggin’ on it.
We do get some intuitive topical touches. Among them, Barack Obama on Gabrielle Giffords: “a needed voice that cannot return soon enough”. We can appreciate the inclusion of revolutionary figures from El Général to Ai Weiwei to Aung San Suu Kyi. Likewise, we should celebrate the ordinary man excelling in extraordinary circumstances – Japanese doctor Takeshi Kanno.
These people deserved to be honored. But – Obama aside – some of the more curious content comes courtesy of those doing the honoring. FULL POST
A lot of people are going to hate this blog post. To all those people, I’d just like to take a quick moment to say: “Suck it up, haters”.
Here’s the deal. Some people are lost in space. Some, like me, are lost in space-related conversation. I just don’t get it. I don’t want to get it. I will never get it.
When most of my colleagues watch the Yuri Gagarin video from five decades ago, they gasp in awe. When I watch it, I struggle not to choke on my own vomit.
Let me start by clearing a few things up:
At this time of year, news outlets revel in their readerships’ gullibility. But the art of media foolery is so rampant that an increasingly skeptical public is starting to doubt the veracity of stories long before April 1.
Take Rebecca Black for example. We almost needed to believe that ‘Friday’ was a hoax, despite its mid-March emergence. So indescribably offensive was this autotuned iniquity, the conspiracy theorists flooded online forums within hours. Sadly, we’ll have to chalk that down to wishful thinking.
There are some days in a TV newsroom you’ll never forget. Here in Hong Kong, I’d had an eye across the morning’s events as I sat at home, fully expecting further dramatic developments in Libya. Only upon my arrival in the office did I hear of the Japanese quake.
Certain news stories are best told with astonishing pictures and minimal words. As we started to see ground-level shots of cars and boats being swept by a torrent of water, we sensed this was one such occasion. But when aerial footage from Miyagi Prefecture began to stream live, the entire newsroom was left in unusual conflict: trying to put this event across to millions of viewers, while unable to tear our eyes away from what we were watching.
As the pictures kept coming (homes being ripped from their foundations, cars attempting in vain to evade the rushing wave, an oil refinery enveloped in smoke and fire), the realization dawned on us that it could take weeks before we knew the extent of the damage, both human and physical.
And then there was the other development: tsunami waves heading out into the ocean, with the entire Pacific Rim apparently at risk. How powerful would the waves be when they hit distant shores? Were we watching a premature echo of events in 2004?
As we went to air, Hawaii was braced for a tsunami. Of several individuals we spoke to in the archipelago, one stood out. Ryan McGinnis told us he was just meters from the shore, as waves clearly began to build – and water lapped onto the streets. As we left him at the end of the hour, we could only wonder if we were watching the next chapter of a devastating story being written.
And as we return to our desks (some of us over the weekend, some on Monday), we will truly begin to reflect on the scale of what could become the story of the year.
Now, I haven’t been sponsored by Tourism Australia to write this blog. If I had been, I’m pretty confident that everything written above would have been aggressively edited at best. But I’m going to say this: Australia, as you may be aware, is a big place. It’s also a diverse place. It’s a big, diverse place with a $34 billion tourism industry that deserves a little bit of support in the current meteorological and financial climate.