Monday, March 14, 2011


in this article about philip crowley getting canned for his remarks on bradley manning, it mentions another incident:
On Friday, in the wake of the earthquake in Japan, he sent out a message on ’Twitter that said: “We’ve been watching a hopeful tsunami sweep across the Middle East. Now we’re seeing a tsunami of a different kind sweep across Japan.”

Other officials said the message was insensitive, and Mr. Crowley pulled it from Twitter.
why is that insensitive? that's a real question, i really don't know the answer. must any statement he makes about the horrible disaster in japan mention how horrible it is or it is deemed insensitive? is this something particular to crowley? because of his position as official state department spokesman must he mention the human tragedy every time he alludes to japan this week? or would the remarks be viewed as insensitive no matter who said it?

i'm having a hard time seeing why it would be insensitive or serious enough to pull from twitter. it's not making fun of the japanese people or belittling their suffering in any way. it is making an odd analogy to two different things going on in the world, really just playing off the phrase "democratic wave" that has been used to refer to what is going on in the middle east. but isn't that what twitter is all about, quick quips and not some larger drawn out comparison?

it's also strange because he wasn't the only one making the comparison. here is today's abu mahjoob cartoon by jordanian cartoonist emad hajjaj:
the caption in the upper right says "arab tsunami!" the cartoon is also evocative of the famous japanese painting, the great wave off kanagawa, but i don't see why that allusion would make it any more or less offensive either.