What is it about a mining disaster that captures our collective attention? Mining is so 19th century. Except that it isn't, and whenever men are trapped underground as they are in West Virginia at the moment, we're reminded that people still go down deep in the earth for resources. It is work far-removed from most of our lives. Mine disaster stories play on my claustrophic fear of being buried alive. The idea of men trapped in labyrinthine mine tunnels, like a kid falling into an old well, has a sort of mythological, timelessness about it. A big story - no matter where, no matter when.
And the world waits to find out how it ends.