EDIT: Due to blogger being kind of a jerk-face to me this week, today is apparently a double up-date day. This post wasn't supposed to go up today, but blogger felt really strongly about this, and since I didn't catch it before at least one person saw and commented, I feel weird taking it down to put it back up later with some edits and tweaks. So, enjoy the double update, and make sure you check out the post below this one.
So there was recently a fire of a cheese factory that's near my home town. It's sad, was really good, and lots of people will be out of jobs now. These are bad and sad things. My Facebook page has been filled with news of it, and there was something that struck me. I have seen more about this cheese factory fire than I have about any national tragedies or global issues. That.... is concerning.
I was talking to a friend of mine after, and he made an argument that kept my faith in humanity somewhat intact. He pointed out that people are going to be more aware of what happens in their own back yard, and the level of coverage the event its self receives will be proportionate to how much you see of it. School shootings are going to be covered in the papers, but a cheese fire? Less likely, and it's one of those strange specifically sentimental things that get to people.
I get that, and I do understand that it is a very human thing, but I can't help but feel it's reflective of a larger societal trend. If something doesn't happen and affect us directly (or someone we know directly) than it just... doesn't seem to matter. Not as much, anyways.
There are wars, there are children being abused and denied education, there is a struggling economy and so, so much more. I'm not implying or saying that people can feasibly care about all the big world issues all the time- it'd be emotionally exhausting. I get that, but seeing the news people are picking up on, and concentrating on (celebrity gossip, anyone?) often makes me really sad. The fact that, to preserve our own... mood? we ignore bigger issues to concentrate on things that affect us (or our interests) more directly. I'm not sure if humans are just selfish or if we as a culture are becoming less empathetic. Maybe we've never been empathetic and my own optimism is just weaning down, I'm not sure. Which ever it is, this realization is both concerning and depressing.
Sound off in the comments, I'd like to hear your take on it.