In the late 1960s, conservative Australian historian Geoffrey Blainey coined the term "the tyranny of distance" to describe how the geographic gap between Australia and the centres of the Western world (US, UK) played a fundamental role is shaping the Australian psyche and character. Fast forward thirty something years into the future, the world is widely considered a global village; the web, email and a million other applications have made realtime information-heavy communication and commerce the expected norm. Today, however, the event of the last few days have given me pause enough to think about what we might consider the tyranny of digital distance insomuch as the potential and, indeed, expectation of synchronous global culture (at least for English-speaking countries) leads to a constant state of delay and annoyance when the promise isn't met. A few examples from my life in Perth, Western Australia ("the world's most geographically isolated capital city") ...
News (in print and more or less online)
David Sifry's State of the Blogosphere, August 2005, Part 1: Blog Growth has been widely cited across the blogosphere and the US and UK newsmedia for most of last week. A full week after the story hits, The West Australian, our only WA-based newspaper, finally picks up the piece. Although, I shouldn't really complain, because the story actually makes it online; less the half The West goes up on there website (I have no idea why, but I suspect it's a lack of demand and a lack of foresight reinforcing each other).
Film: Code 46
While this film has had a slightly difficult release no matter which country we look at, the mainstream UK release was September 2004. The cinema release date for Code 46 in Australia was July 28 2005. There's a ten month delay there!
Television I: Desperate Housewives
While I'm not particularly interested in this show, it's a good example because it is very widely watched in Australia. The finale of Desperate Housewives,"One Wonderful Day" aired in the US on May 22nd. The episode airs in Perth tonight, 8th August. While that's actually quite a respectable delay considering the norm, that period of almost three months is how long Aussie Desperate Housewives fans have had to avoid large segments of the net which have reported/discussed/dissected the season finale. (That's not counting the period before the show when spoilers were widely available!)