Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Star Jones and Tsunamis

Big news today.

Star Jones is getting divorced. OMG! (if people even know who she is). ( No Reason Yet Given In Star Jones's Divorce From Gay Husband.)

Star Jones reminds me very much of the internet pre-YouTube.

On December 26, 2004, you may recall that a large earthquake rocked the Indian Ocean, causing a tsunami responsible for many deaths from flooding in Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, etc. It was a terrible tragedy, one for which Indian Ocean countries (as opposed to Pacific Ocean countries) were ill-prepared.

Places struck by the tsunami included Phuket, Thailand, a resort area frequented by many Europeans. A number of vacationers took videos of the event as it happened, and they started to appear online soon in the days following the disaster.

I found watching these riveting for some reason. I knew it was kind of "wrong", but I also wanted to understand in some small way how it happened and the fear people must have felt. People a world away from me in many ways, but still, as John Green would say, there is no them, there are only facets of us.

But there was no YouTube.

It was difficult to locate and stream these videos, and some sites crashed from the traffic. While we take it for granted today that video of any disaster or mishap will be on YouTube, this is the first time I recall such widespread distribution (though straining the internet) of tragedy footage.

Some of those videos I recall now appear on youtube:

Another One. A Third One.

So, back to Star Jones. Star Jones reminds me of all this because a few days after the tragedy, she talked on the View (the morning U.S. talk show) about how she had just been in the area -- like a month before -- for her honeymoon. The wedding had been highly publicized by her, and she was milking that wedding for all it was worth. (Apparently 3 years.)

As The Daily Show reported at the time: "Star Jones is eternally grateful that God chose to spare her life in exchange for those of 160,000 others in Sri Lanka and Indonesia."

And whaddya know. The first video ever posted on youtube arrived on April 23, 2005. Three years ago today. Star Jones probably arranged for it.

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