The Chilean miners being rescued from the San Jose Mine has been streaming live all over the world today, and if you haven't looked, chances are you aren't reading this story. Because everyone is fascinated by this story.
Even Kim Kardashian is tweeting about it. The question is why.
It's not happening in America. And it's only affecting 33 people and their families.
It's got Baby Jessica McClure-type mushy gushy sentiment surrounding it, but really, why is this the story we picked to Facebook about, Tweet, and live stream?
Three million people are marching in France today on behalf of the working man -- as America fights rocketing unemployment. We could identify easily, but we don't care.
A spate of poaching atrocities in India has felled 41 tigers and 134 leopards already this year. We could be decrying this the way we took Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to task for dog-fighting. But we're not.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is visiting Lebanon today -- a visit that could have international implications. But we don't care.
So why the miners?
Because these stories don't come along often: stories that are simultaneously proof that man can overcome nature and stories that counteract the worst news in America. Between the Deepwater Horizon and BP oil spill disaster in the Gulf and the West Virginia coal mine explosion in April of this year, the natural resource news in America has been packed with horrors and death.
Like Jessica, the toddler who fell down the well in Midland, Texas, only to be raised out by rescuers some three days later, these miners managed not only to survive the initial tragedy but to endure for a period of time until rescue -- just the sort of on-the-edge-of-your-seat time span that TV producers use to force you to sit through a little ad revenue before the final reveal of the American Idol winner or the latest Survivor cast-off.
We care about the miners because of a math equation: humanity + time = feeling good about the world and in turn our own lives. We watch because the miners make us happy.
Image via HUGO INFANTE/GOVERNMENT OF CHILE/Flickr