Of course, the 24 hour news cycle has changed things somewhat: most of us pause for a moment or two to hear the announcement about the boy falling out of the sky before we turn quite leisurely away. And in that moment there is a breathless expectation that someone in a suit will capture for us the momentousness of what has happened. However banal and bleedingly obvious it might seem when a politician labels a disaster as ‘tragic,’ ‘shocking,’ ‘appalling,’ or any other of his list of synonyms, there is also I think a genuine satisfaction of a genuine need. Human suffering and natural catastrophe demand language. Words that both gauge and contain their depths, and words delivered in a voice of authority. In fact these labels, though they seem pointless, move beyond mere verbalising into the realm of religious incantation. The blessing of a priest; the elevation of the ordinary into the sacred. It is also an acknowledgement, the same one Breughel's painting so conspicuously lacks, that something amazing has happened.