Home News


So, our hotel room in Tokyo wasn’t exactly the multimedia cornucopia we’d expected, with but a handful of stations available on our flatscreen. It was probably a good thing, since the hypnotic allure of Japanese television is overwhelming, with its endless cooking shows, clownlike talk-show hosts and sparkly chimes whenever words are superimposed on the screen.

So we resorted to CNNj, which most of the time featured the international version of that station but in evenings was saturated with the U.S. morning feed, complete with the chirpy insouciance of Soledad O’Brien and the fake gravitas of John Roberts. Two stories were in endless rotation during our stay:

1) Man (and Woman) Overboard!

A 22-year-old man and his 20-year-old, female possible-companion fell off a Princess cruise ship in the Caribbean. It was an “accident”. They were retrieved a few hours later — he naked and she merely wet and cold — and they resumed their vacation, much to the relief of one passenger on-board, who was “proud to report [to CNN] that they were returned safely”. Despite the ridiculous notion that a fellow passenger might feel pride that people who jeopardized the vacation plans of thousands were, indeed, safe, we were curious as to what possible “accident” might yield such near-tragic results.

And we never did find out. We didn’t find out that the two were cast into the sea whilst reenacting an emotional scene from Titanic, nor did we find out that she followed him overboard after he threatened in a drunken fit to throw himself into the inky water if she didn’t put out.

Of course, had the two been Canadian, their indignant parents would call for a federal inquiry into cruise boat safety because, hey, 20somethings on vacation never do anything stupid and dangerous and stupid.

2) We Can Be Heroes

101-year-old Rose Morat recovers from a violent assault by a cowardly fuckwit. It’s a horrifying story, to be sure, and far from funny, but I can’t quite get on-board with Soledad O’Brien‘s conclusion that the woman was some kind of hero for “fighting back”. We all saw the video, and that poor woman is a victim, not a hero. Of course, thanks to CNN, the word “hero” is utterly meaningless these days. JD John Roberts only made matters worse by suggesting that “her taekwondo lessons really paid off”.

Now, come the fuck on. You reran the video with almost pornographic glee. This isn’t news, and playing up some notion of heroics is the worst kind of condescension to the ancient.

“Welcome back from the hospital, dear, we’ve made a plaque for you… you’re a hero!”

“Hero? Did you watch the goddamned videotape? That motherfucker punk beat the shit out of me!”

“But… you fought back! You’re a hero, sweetheart!”

“Are you fucking nuts?! I fought back? With what, my jaw? You people are too stupid for words.”

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