Sunday, February 02, 2003
Read Kevin's post about his reaction to the loss of the Columbia space shuttle. His sentiment, as well as those in the comments of that post, seem to be echoing in many places. The use of the word jaded truly captures the essence of what so many are feeling in response to this tragedy. My experience was very similar to his for most of the day, no mention other than to make sure people had heard the news. Then on the way to dinner last night, John Eric and I started to get into a discussion about the idea of flashbulb memories. One of the classic examples always given is the explosion of the Challenger, and not having been old enough to really remember it well, I found it strange that others had such vivid memories of it. Flash forward to the current day, and I definitely don't feel that this day will forever be engraved upon my memory. Even last night I had to think to come up with where I'd heard about it first, as several different sources informed me within like 10 minutes, between a newsgroup, CNN, a friend and a phone call. At this realization I thought about the scope of tragedies that ahve been used as examples of flashbulb memories, notably the day JFK was shot, the Challenger, and most recently 9-11, and thought about how each one just seemed to top the next. We appear to be getting desensitized to smaller tragedies. Now it is possible that we are still just too close in the wake of 9-11 still to really feel similar, but it still was interesting to think about, and brought up several ideas like a possible refractory period between flashbulb like events, and ponderances about what it would take right now to cause another such memory event.


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