Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: The shakes

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  • Sacha,

    So much of what's emerging from Chch is an echo of what it was like to be in NYC nine years ago

    Although I'm grateful Christchurch will never be accompanied by the chest-thumping uberpatriotism that still infects mentions of 9/11. Even some otherwise reasonable Americans maintaining that the whole world shares their teen angst..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Although I'm grateful Christchurch will never be accompanied by the chest-thumping uberpatriotism that still infects mentions of 9/11. Even some otherwise reasonable Americans maintaining that the whole world shares their teen angst..

    The flag outside my house is the only one I have seen today not at half-mast - and, really, it would be more appropriate if it were; but it's the landlord's flag and I don't think anyone here knows how to lower it. Instead it just looks sort of like the international students don't care.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Can we re-establish the comparison after somebody has actually flown commercial airliners into our buildings, killing three thousand? Until then we just don't know what angst we might be capable of, teen or otherwise.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7315 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    The Press piece by Philip Mathews is excellent. Demonstrates once again how PAS is a vital part of national conversations.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2219 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Can we re-establish the comparison after somebody has actually flown commercial airliners into our buildings, killing three thousand?

    When we offer plausible motivation to do such things by decades of violently invading other regions, distorting economies in our own interests and exporting our culture, perhaps.

    I'm tired of the braying flag-waving and unreflective, "whole world looked on in anguish" bollocks. US exceptionalism was challenged by someone bloodying their noses in their own backyard and that hurts, yes. But regardless of the empathy we feel for a shocking human event (and let's spare some of that for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians subsequently killed), assuming 'we' are all Americans is one of the root causes of the problem. It's immature and it lets down the great things about their national character.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Thanks, Giovanni, for that bracing point, which I didn't quite know how to make myself without seeming reactionary or an apologist. And Sacha, it's hard to convey how much of a minority those chest-thumpers are, even though I know they look worse from outside.

    The comparisons/echoes I was thinking of were more in the unevenness of the effect, over time and space. Not uneven in the NZ vs. US sense, but in the sense that you could be in one part of Chch (or NYC) and be relatively all right, while other spots were messier and more chaotic; some people are affected more than others; and those effects shift and intensify or diminish over time.

    I'm not meaning to conflate the two events, either. The aftershocks, in particular, are their own horrible thing. As Cheryl Bernstein so eloquently put it:

    When I’ve read about earthquakes previously, like the one in Haiti in 2009 which was, they say, of a similar type, and size, to Christchurch 2010, I’ve imagined the horror of the quake itself, and then the heartbreaking recovery and clean up. But what really happens in the aftermath of a major earthquake is many, many more earthquakes, some almost as big as the initial quake itself. In the past week there have been more than 300 aftershocks, many of which have sent us scurrying into doorways or leaping from bed or diving under the reassuringly solid oak of our dining table. We’ve seen that an earthquake is not a singular event but a series of terrifying revisions of the initial shock, in which you relive that moment over and over again.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The Press piece by Philip Mathews is excellent.

    +1

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    Another blog to watch, created fresh out of the rubble: Rebuilding Christchurch, by musician/academic Ed Muzik/James Dann (h/t Cheryl B).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Can we re-establish the comparison after somebody has actually flown commercial airliners into our buildings, killing three thousand? Until then we just don't know what angst we might be capable of, teen or otherwise.

    Would it be equal to the "nation mourns" bullshit that will flow when the All Blacks get knocked out of the Rugby World Cup next year? Sorry, it has to be said.

    Also worth noting, that 372 foreign nationals (including two New Zealanders ) were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Shame they had to be collateral damage in giving American exceptionalism a bloody nose...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Would it be equal to the "nation mourns" bullshit that will flow when the All Blacks get knocked out of the Rugby World Cup next year?

    I very much doubt it will be equal. I'm sure some media will ham up the feelings of bitterness in NZ but we'll get over it pretty quick, and whoever does win will be congratulated rather than bombed back into the stone age.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8027 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Shame they had to be collateral damage

    Muslim Americans still seem to be having a hard time of that one.

    Would it be equal to the "nation mourns" bullshit that will flow when the All Blacks get knocked out of the Rugby World Cup next year?

    Though I am not looking forward to the wailing, you've made my point all too well - it would be like us claiming that the *whole world* mourns our loss.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    whoever does win will be congratulated rather than bombed back into the stone age.

    Except England right?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    May I just say that the jingoistic bullshit didn't actually occur immediately after the September 11 attacks and was, in fact, drummed up largely by Fox and the Bush administration some weeks or even months later? I remember those first few weeks while living in the US, and they were not at all as Sacha is characterising them. In a different political climate, with different leadership, it might even have been an ongoing learning opportunity. It's a terrible shame and tragedy that it wasn't.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Danielle, I'm only characterising what I've seen online last week.

    None of us are stupid enough to think that's what all American people think or that they did so at the time. I share the sadness that it wasn't an opportunity for that great nation to become better rather than bitter.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 15741 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    May I just say that the jingoistic bullshit didn't actually occur immediately after the September 11 attacks and was, in fact, drummed up largely by Fox and the Bush administration some weeks or even months later?

    Really? Given current events, I'm not the only one who'd like to see the Bush who swiftly and firmly reminded people that that the 9/11 attacks were not perpetuated by "Islam". Where's he at?

    In a different political climate, with different leadership, it might even have been an ongoing learning opportunity. It's a terrible shame and tragedy that it wasn't.

    It's even more tragic that when Obama is bringing the sanity over the so-called 'Ground Zero mosque', it's Ted Olson (whose wife was on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon) , Michael Bloomberg and the Republican governor of New Jersey standing by him when much of the alleged leadership of the Democratic Party duck and cover. It's really been an instructive -- if depressing -- insight into the state of the American political spine.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11617 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I'm not the only one who'd like to see the Bush

    What a fortuitous line break! ;) But, yeah, that was the weird thing. For the first few weeks it was all 'hey, he's not doing what I expect at all' and then the whole thing gradually became *exactly* what I expected. Blurgh.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

  • Tamsin6,

    Three hours ago, I was just about to hit “publish” on a frivolous blog post when

    It has been fantastic reading about the quake, how everyone is getting on, and I hope we will keep seeing regular updates - it has been really helpful to me to add to what my Chch based family and friends can tell me. But am I alone in also wanting to see the above frivolous post?

    London • Since Dec 2007 • 123 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Given current events, I'm not the only one who'd like to see the Bush who swiftly and firmly reminded people that that the 9/11 attacks were not perpetuated by "Islam". Where's he at?

    I think that line became inconvenient for future plans, so was dropped in favour of putting "terrorist", "911", "Weapons of Mass Destruction", and "Iraq" in the same sentence without concretely linking them all together.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6145 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Really? Given current events, I'm not the only one who'd like to see the Bush who swiftly and firmly reminded people that that the 9/11 attacks were not perpetuated by "Islam". Where's he at?

    He is probably holding hands whilst ballroom dancing with the Saudis ;)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5724 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    But am I alone in also wanting to see the above frivolous post?

    I bumped it down the queue a bit, but be assured it's on the way :-) Along with a couple of book-related posts...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1408 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Along with a couple of book-related posts...

    Yay!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1354 posts Report Reply

  • Tamsin6,

    Yay too! (with added happy dance).

    London • Since Dec 2007 • 123 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    Just back from a little over a week working down in my old home town. Definitely not the way I had ever wanted to return.

    Anyways ....

    Fair to say Kainga, Brooklands, Bexley, Avonside, and the eastern side of Kaiapoi were the worst off by a fair margin. I've never seen anything quite like it, and I hope I never have to again.

    It was interesting to note how sensitised the locals were to the aftershocks. Completely understandable though. But those of us who were the Johnny come latelies (as it were) tended to miss them. I know I sure as hell did. In fact there was one when I was working out of the Civil Defence centre that I missed entirely. Everyone around me froze and I simply couldn't figure it out.

    I guess if you go through a 7.1 you're definitely going to feel everything that follows.

    I vaguely noticed the vulture comments made by Dunne (and later Anderton I think). I can't says as I paid them too much attention though as there were more important things to worry about.

    All I can say is we all tried to do the best we could to report as equitably as we could. There's a balance you have to strike - getting needed information out, but at the same time showing the human face of what was going on


    Not that it was that easy for some of us. Our ZB building was red stickered on the Monday after the quake and I know the guys at the Press had to vacate. In our case there was a period when our newsroom was down to one laptop computer and an aircard. Fortunately our techs managed to do an absolutely stellar job and got alternate studios and facilities up and running within a matter of hours. They were frickin fantastic!

    Interesting moments:

    The City Councillor that complained at there not being predictions for aftershocks.

    The Japanese tourists I ran into on Sunday who simply thought the city was going through a building boom (very shocked when I told them about the quake)

    Completely missing the big 5.4 aftershock on the Wed's morning - on the road following the PM. The moment we pull over all our cellphones light up at the same time (not sure if it was concern for our safety or simply to see if something had fallen on the PM)

    Covering the quake with a smartcar as transport. They have far more offroad capability than you might think and you can park them almost anywhere (though not so great for image when surrounded by 4WDs as far as they eye can see).

    But kudos has to go all those people whom put up with me as I went about my job when they were in a difficult situation. That goes for members of the public and officials/emergency services. Thanks for your tolerance, help, and understanding. I know you had more important things to deal with than my questions.


    And now that I'm back in Wgtn I know how royally fucked we may be when the big one hits here. At least in a flat city there's not that far for things to fall. Here, well it may be a case of going from harbour view to waterside location in 45 seconds or less.

    (with apologies to Kelburn, Khandallah, and Roseneath residents)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 193 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Upthread I mentioned the damaged Repertory theatre. Since then, I heard someone on TV suggest that it might be saved.

    Fascinated to read article in the Dompost today (and maybe also in the Press?) which starts with the theatre and draws heavily on my research on the School of Radiant Living. Was an honours research paper I adapted for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage's nzhistory website over a decade ago. All material is now in the Beaglehole Room at the Victoria University Library. Good to see stuff you worked on ages ago can remain useful.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 1901 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Felix - who was that councillor?
    The choice is such that you just can't guess, I have my favourites.
    Please do tell.

    And the Civil Defense centre?
    Was that the Art Gallery with the falling plaster or one of the relief centres?

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1139 posts Report Reply

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