Sunday, January 25, 2009

[OT] Tsunamis: Not Just Metaphor--Not a Just Metaphor



Connecting the Quiksilver brand to the Microsoft brand = dumb
Having anything to do with he phrase "economic tsunami" = horrible



Words may just be words, but you do not surf a Tsunami. An image of a surfing goods CEO surfing a tsunami is not just profoundly ignorant of surfing, it is profoundly insensitive, smug, affluent-centric and just plain naff. It may have been 4 whole years, but over 200,000 deaths should still raise the word "tsunami" above the level of glib soundbites. What next, "economic 9/11", "economic holocaust"?

[picture excerpted from an award winning picture by Arko Datta shown here]

14 comments:

L. Venkata Subramaniam said...

I am told that in the immediate aftermath of the Tsunami the stock markets of the affected countries, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, etc. hit historic highs. Apparently people saw great economic opportunity in the devastation.

corrin said...

The phrase didn't strike me as insensitive because it's so general. If they would have said economic hurricane, I wouldn't have immediately thought of New Orleans.

Emily Veinglory said...

200,000 people. That is not new orleans. It is Indonesia. India and a lot of other countries. It is 700 times the causualties in 9/11. I think that *should* be still on peoples minds here just as it surely is in many other countries.

Tuscan Capo said...

While the word immediately makes me think of that terrible toll of life, I don't find it offensive when used in the context of the economy. Economists who have used it this way are often referring to deficits that reach to heights never encountered before..not millions, not hundreds of millions, but billions multiplied by billions. It is estimated that the witch hunts of Europe victimized over a million people, but no one thinks twice about using the term, "witch hunt" in context of McCarthyism or any other modern McCarthyism-type scapegoating. Such turn-of-use for words may seem insensitive, but at least when school children look up where the root connotations for these phrases are derived they will be educated in the tragic history of the term.

Emily Veinglory said...

The phrase itself might not have boggled my mind, but that ad with a CEO surfing a huge wave?

Would they have got away with 9/11 or holocaust? And if not why?

(I think I know why. The same reason a good many people here in the US don't seem to even remember the Boxing Day tsunami happened at all).

Heather in Beautiful BC said...

Well, I think it was very creative advertising - but rather insensitive.

People seem to need reminders of catastrophies and atrocities to keep them on their toes and aware. I think we all tend to put our blinders on and go about our little day to day lives... unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

I personally didn't find it offensive- however, I think most marketing is ridiculous. There are countless examples which are either offensive, misleading or just barely meeting legal regulations.
If they would have used 9/11 or holocaust I still would not have been offended. I would have thought they were inappropriate. To me, that is a bit different vs a descriptive word.

BarbaraRae said...

It was a horrible day without any metaphors, puns, or oxymorons. Tragic events that showcase plight and pain should never be exploited! The media overplays many tragic events in my opinion. They aren't very sensitive to these issues.

Karen said...

I will have to think this one over. I usually look to the good side of everyone's intentions.

Sadie said...

I think if they had used an Indonesian looking background it would have been one thing, but, I don't know - it seems kind of general to me. Like Corrin said, if they had said a hurricane, I wouldn't have thought New Orleans, or if they said earthquake, I wouldn't have thought China.

Emily Veinglory said...

The difference, to my mind is that the 2004 Tsunami introduced this Japanese word into many languages and cemented it in American English. Ergo one can say "the Tsunami" without ambuiguity--but not "the Earthquake" or "the Hurricane".

Lisa said...

Emily, I have to agree with your last comment. I don't think I am offended by it however I certainly can understand why someone would be.

Emily Veinglory said...

Now Governer Blagojevich is comparing being impeached to Pearl Harbor--spare me.

Connie said...

I honestly didn't think of it in the context you did. Could it be because of where we live or our culture?