The “Our Tsunami” comparisons: Irresistible, and inevitable

It was only a matter of time, of course, before the comparisons were made — and not without reason: death, destruction, flooding, homes and people washed away, horrific scenes of devastation. It’s certainly a hell of a lot more germane than a Hollywood breakup (long memories, Kent Brownridge).

Even so, the scope really doesn’t compare, and the Tsunami-comparing backlash is gearing up, starting with Romenesko letters (again), as a Corey Pein writes in from Bangkok:

“The tsunami hit a whole region and killed hundreds of thousands of
people and came without leaving enough time to evacuate. The worst-hit places here in Thailand are still [messed] up, whole villages of shell-shocked people who lost their families and their livelihoods. It is possible to convey the scope of the disaster on the Gulf Coast without resorting to such hyperbole. From this perch, it only offers evidence to support the worst stereotypes about Americans, ie, that we only think of ourselves.”

E&P editor Greg Mitchell wades into the fray and writes:

“I’d like to add that I hope the media also doesn’t swallow and follow Gov. Barbour’s widely-published (front page of NY Times etc.) declaration that the Gulf Coast of Mississippi now seems like “Hiroshima.” The differences are monumental (in the degree of destruction, loss of life and, let’s not forget, horrid radiation effects). This is not to minimize the Mississippi tragedy; I just fear that to make such a comparison tends to minimize the utterly unique and must-be-avoided danger of nuclear weapons.”

Still, you try telling a floating corpse in Louisiana that Katrina doesn’t technically merit a comparison to another devastating tragedy. It’s pretty fucking brutal no matter how you slice it.