Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Resurrection... and sailing

Well I haven't been very good with this blog but hopefully I'll get better. Usually when I neglect a blog long enough I leave it to die in internet wilderness while I start a new one with an entirely new format... this is not what I am going to do here.

Will hopefully continue writing in this, regardless of who's reading... because I just changed jobs which means I don't get to put my thoughts to paper as much and it is incredibly frustrating.

I've moved from newspapers to TV and have discovered the realities of the job that I just can't seem to get my head around. More on this in the future. I may be judging TV a bit too harshly as I am in a news role rather than the sort of current affairs one I would have liked.

Anyway, I was compelled to write about the two young teenage sailors who had a dream to sail around the world unassisted - one made it, and one had here hopes literally smashed by a freak wave that pounded her boat.

The first was Jessica Watson, a Gold Coast teen who achieved the feat after much public criticism earlier this year.

She was greeted with a heros welcome on arriving at Sydney harbour... and if you have any doubts of her "heroics", see what our dear Prime Minister had to say:

"Jess welcome back to dry land. Welcome back home to Australia. You know something, you may feel a little wobbly on your feet just now, but in the eyes of all Australians you now stand tall as our newest Australian hero," Mr Rudd said.

"At sixteen years old you are a hero to all young Australians. You are also a hero to all young Australian women. You do our nation proud."

To her credit, Watson rebuked her new hero status, saying she was just an ordinary girl.

But this had made her anything than ordinary. She had the world at her feet, and reportedly may never have to work again as she lives off her achievement through sponsorships, talks, products etc. She has made her own personal brand at the tender age of 16.

Another girl in the US was not so lucky. Abby Sunderland had the same dream, but was forced to retreat after her boat was damaged in heavy storms of the WA coast and Australia had to send a airbus to find her.

Abby is coming under a lot of criticism at the moment. Today she said that people did not understand she wasn't like your ordinary teenager.

Sunderland acknowledged that her adventure "can look pretty crazy. But the thing is, those people don't know me. And if they did, they wouldn't be criticising my age".

She spoke by phone from the remote Kerguelen Islands, near Antarctica, where her rescue boat stopped briefly en route to Reunion Island and a true reunion with her family.

"I think that a lot of people are judging me by the standards they have for their teens and other teens that they know ... and thinking 'she's exactly like them'," Sunderland said.

"They don't understand that I've sailed my whole life and I do know what I'm doing out there."

All power to this girls but really, why are we worshipping them?

They may have sailed around the world but they had amazing support unit and a family who pushed them all the way. Jessica had a lot of endorsements and the backing of a media contigent watching her every move.

Although I do find their achievements admirable, they are not courageous when taken into the context of the millions of teens around the world who face hardship... and overcome it even though they did not actively seek it.

They also do it alone.

It is not courageous when I think of the teenagers who will take boat trips to Australia, only to face public condemnation and a detention centre, simply to get away from the crisises in their homealnds.

It is not courageous when I think of the teenagers who are stuck in war zones and are dodging bullets and bombs.

It is not courageous when I think of the teenagers who are drowning under poverty... even those in our own country who come from unstable homes and yet still manage to get by.

These girls should not be revered as heroes. They are embarking on plights completely for their own personal gain. If that money sending them on irresponsible adventures was tunnelled into more important campaigns maybe the world would be a bit better.

I'm sure these girls have a determination many would only dream about. But why not direct that determination into helping the less fortunate, instead of pursuing the pathway to fame?

2 Stars Have Something To Say!:

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Princess Jo said...

Yep....I must agree!