Friday Song: Duran Duran

“The apocalyptic images on Japanese TV of powerful, debris-filled waves, uncontrolled fires and a ship caught in a massive whirlpool resembled scenes from a Hollywood disaster movie.” – Associated Press

Actually, as many have thought with morbid irony, the images are akin to Japanese monster films, whose primal, primary purpose I believe has been to remind generations of children that nationwide devastation is never far away, not even in a kaiju landscape, the residue of Nagasaki and Hiroshima always on the horizon. I’ve been to Japan, walked near the docks of Kobe and the hills of Nara, strode mountain paths where samurai once tread, stood over Tokyo in its famous tower that fell to Mothra and Godzilla and walked around Osaka Temple. It’s a vibrant, magical, mysterious nation, and if I had any previous lives, I’m certain I spent one in the Land Of The Rising Sun. I’ve been in deadly earthquakes such as the 1994 Northridge one that measured 6.6 — and I did briefly believe it was the end of the world — but Americans are relatively lucky compared to other nations whose deaths can measure in the 100,000’s. The Sendai quake is the largest in recorded Japanese history and it’s too early to count the death toll, already in the hundreds; as oil refineries burn, the threat of a nuclear reactor disaster is still present and President Obama wisely stressed in his press conference that it was finally time to get off the oil addiction, going to wind, solar, etc. energy sources. You can’t stop Mother Nature from her movements, but there’s no doubt we’re pushing her to the limit. A catastrophe like this makes my triumphs and tragedies seem beyond trivial, so I thought it apropos to choose a live 2003 version of Duran Duran performing their huge 1993 “comeback” hit, “Ordinary World,” for a more somber weekend segue. I heard this beautiful song when it premiered on KROC and I said out loud, “They did it. This is a hit song.” For all that’s worth now. As Simon Le Bon sings, “Here besides the news, Of holy war and holy need, Ours is just a little sorrowed talk.”

7 Responses to “Friday Song: Duran Duran”

  1. man it feels like the world is cracking at the seams. japan’s urban search and rescue unit has just left here to return home after immediately coming to our aid when our devastating quake hit (numerous japanese students having been killed in christchurch at the language school there), so invaluable in helping to search for survivors and recover the dead — only to return home to yet another natural disaster, this time of truely epic proportions.

    my heart breaks for the people of japan, so susceptible to tsunamis throughout their history, and yet again they are horrifically swamped in nature’s fury. perhaps our country can identify with them better than most at this time as the aftershocks here continue to rumble the length of the land, ground-shaking reminders of how small and insignificant we all are in the face of the unfathomable forces shaping our planet. it almost feels like our quakes have travelled the length of the pacific rim fault to unleash further devastation and heartbreak to our northern pacific neighbours, i can only imagine the destruction and grief the people are now having to face, and will continue to grapple with for such a long time.

    i can only hope the death toll from this tsunami does not reach the devastating numbers of the 2004 thailand disaster, but that would be no comfort or consolation to all the individuals and families of those swept away by the surging wall of water, each and every one beloved and precious to someone.

    sorry to babble on, just trying to wrap my head around what’s going on. so much grief and destruction lately, sadness is heavy in my chest.

    • christian Says:

      Yes it does, doesn’t it? It’s so vast we can barely process it here. Thank God the Japanese are the most safety oriented earthquake society given their past.

      But I am very worried about the nuclear reactors — I’m adamantly opposed to nuclear power and this is the reason. There’s simply no reason to be using these time bombs just to give us power. I’ll choose candle light over radiation. But this is all so sad, epic, and it does make everything feel small in your own life while heightening your gratitude. Hang in there, leah.

      • thanks c, yes nuclear power would seem an esp. dangerous proposition in japan given the country’s position on a large, active subduction zone and long history with devastating quakes (and tsunamis as a result). i just heard on the news one nuclear plant is apparently now venting small amounts of radiation in hopes of averting a large-scale meltdown, i mean this is just major serious shit.

        i feel so sorry for the japanese people – who are indeed possibly the best prepared and trained for such disasters given their history, not that it makes it any less impactful when one of the all-time wost-in-the-world quakes hammers you – not only having to cope with a monster quake and tsunami, but now the threat of nuclear catastrophe hanging over their heads as well, definitely feeling for them.

        just to make matters a bit worse, i also just heard that at least 20 new zealanders in japan have been reported missing after the event, so here’s hoping those people will be accounted for or found, if not we may have to share in the grief of the japanese on a more personal level too. the prime minister of japan has asked for our help from our urban search and rescue unit, because of their high level of quake rescue expertise, so they’re on their way there after coping with quite a lot already, hopefully we can help the japanese people in their time of need the same way they came to help us.

        that it should be necessary is just sort of mind-boggling, i can’t shake this awful ‘what horrible thing is going to happen next?’ feeling, but i realise that’s just a bit of disaster fatigue setting in.

        • just to add, i didn’t realise you’d had people swept away in the surge there in CA, what a bummer. the power of nature/the cosmos is so beyond comprehension and a bit frightening, so much entangled energy and forces beyond our meager ‘control’ at work in constant dynamic motion in the creation and destruction of the universe, we are but dust in the wind, here for but a blink of an eye if that in the scheme of things. a tissue in the wind. but our time is real and it’s here and it’s now, i guess all we can do is make the most of it.

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