Flight MH370 – Fascination With The Unexplainable

April 5, 2014 3:07 pm

missing-malaysian-flightIt’s been twenty eight days since Malaysian flight 370 went missing and the story has, understandably, dominated the headlines. But in a very writerly sense I decided to take a step back and think about why it is these stories capture our attention in such a phenomenal way.  Of course plenty of us will argue that we’re human beings; we care and empathise for one another and we want to be safe in the knowledge that the 239 passengers of flight MH370 are still alive and well. Yet I think there is a deeper sense of fascination that comes with stories like this where, because the events that took place seem so impossible, we are open to question it and be captivated by its elusiveness.

The questionable events that lead to the disappearance of Madeline McCann are still discussed even today, nearly seven years after she first went missing. In 2011 Cameron pushed for Portuguese police to re-open the case (I hate to be cynical but I sense his main aim was to win the public over with this sweet little move) and in 2013 it was made official, the case had been re-opened. I recall sitting and watching the Crimewatch appeal with baited breath back in October and once again my housemates and I found ourselves discussing possible outcomes. Was she dead or not? Who had taken her? Did we still believe the parents, after all these years, were possible suspects? And I feel that same sense of mystery and fascination being relived with flight MH370.
Madeleine-McCannThis is a sad truth, but if something is explainable it instantly loses the public’s interest. There are only so many stories the media can write about a plane that was simply caught in a storm and crashed into the ocean. Yet in this instance, the lack of knowledge opens up a world of possibilities to the press; articles have ranged from finding the plane on the moon, to the abduction of the passengers by aliens. It’s a little silly but people still read it because as there is no explanation and because of this there are no limits to the truth. Who’s to say the plane hasn’t ended up victim to a black hole or been hijacked by a super intelligent race of cats? With the revolution of social media we are updated every minute with a new piece of information to add to the puzzle which thus creates a new possibility. That is the beauty of stories like these, the event exists in reality but the theories behind it capture our imagination, jolt us from our strict scientific plausible explanations and remind us that anything is possible. After all there was a time when the overriding belief was that the world was flat, therefore could we not simply be naive to the existence of plane eating sky monsters?
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