How did they do it, I wonder? Provide news coverage of WWII, I mean. I’m not confused about how they got the news stories, I’m confused about how they sustained coverage of an event that lasted almost six years from a Canadian perspective.
1939 Sep 10 – Canada declares war on Germany after invasion of Poland.
1941 Dec 8 – Canada declares war on Japan after attack on Pearl Harbor.
1945 May 7 – Germany surrenders to the Allies.
1945 Aug 14 – Japan surrenders to the Allies.
– Veterans Affairs and Richard Langworth
Today, if we were faced with an actual shooting war killing tens of thousands of Canadians and wounding as many more, I swear our current news model would melt down in the first six months . . .
We’re at war!
OMG OMG OMG
Imagine the 24/7 coverage. The blow-by-blow coverage of the day’s activities. The endless speculation about coming events, next steps. The non-stop second-guessing over strategies and tactics and motivations. The TV interviews with experts unencumbered by any decision-making responsibility or accountability. It makes me tired just thinking about it.
Honestly, I expect that coverage would run out of steam and move on to other topics with the usual item-bridging banter of local news-show hosts.
And, of course, we’re still at war.
Now let’s look at this weekend’s Gourd Festival.
Over to you, Samantha.
We seem to swing from intensely panicked coverage to . . . crickets.
When was the last time you heard anything about the potable-water situation in First Nations’ communities? Gangs in Vancouver? Non-CO2 pollution? The Two Michaels, at anything other than a hundred-day milestone? #MeToo? The Democratic Republic of the Congo?
All of these things had their OMG OMG OMG moment (or predictable seasonal or cyclical moments) and then . . . nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And the flip side? When was the first time you heard about systemic anti-Black racism in Canada? About White privilege? About the oppression of colonialism? These are the Worst Things Ever du jour. Will they, too, be crickets tomorrow?
Do we have a society-level attention-deficit disorder? Do we need a new crisis every month, every week, every day? Have we forgotten how to work on a problem for longer than a few news cycles? How to care about some social or political ill without hyperventilating it into the Worst Thing Ever?
If they gave a six-year war today, would we be able to summon the political will and sustain the societal commitment to see it through? Would we have what it takes even to pay attention to the news about it? For six years?
Somewhere between all and nothing, between OMG OMG OMG and crickets, there is a place to stand that allows us to keep on keeping on, attending to all the things that require our attention.