The Hurricane Wasn’t; Tropical Storm Saves Lives

It happened again. The mass media used three whole good summer days to waste my time. As I write, Sunday late afternoon, the networks are still trying to extract some unlikely catastrophe from….What was the name of that tropical storm, again?

Don’t misunderstand me, I am all in favor of mobilizing the mass media to protect people and their belongings from the ravages Mother Nature sends us frequently. It would be good if we could count on the networks to do a prudent, rational job of warning those who need warning of dangers that are both serious and probable. That’s not what we get, in fact. The major networks are actively competing to put on the ground drama queens of both sexes clad in rain-gear, some with hip-waders, trudging in half a foot of surge water. By the way,  hasn’t anyone told those effete urban reporters that if your waders fill up with water, there is a good chance you are a goner? If you are wearing jeans, on the other hand, and the water rises more than expected, you are just wet, that’s all!

I spent three days without coverage of the important events in Libya and in Syria, also without sports coverage, because the airwaves were occupied by  meteorological events and non-events taking place thousands of miles from where I live. Here, on the West Coast, for millions of Americans, it was a normal, sunny, warm end-of-summer day.

What’s the idea, anyway? Am I supposed to gain some merit, some moral stature, from being kept aware twenty-four/twenty-four of the coming and actual misfortunes of my fellow Americans a continent away? Or is the exaggerated coverage part of the political culture of this country? Was it the case that the Obama administration was hoping for the worst so that it could demonstrate its superior ability to handle and master a Katrina-like disaster? I almost wish this cynical supposition were correct. It would imply that the mass media have something like a collective brain. But, it is not to be: Fox News was right there on the front-line of the hoped-for horrors, elbow-to-elbow with CNN and MSNBC.

And, if you are tempted to think me insensitive, a monster, get this: America is a country exposed to the capricious actions of the old bitch, Mother Nature. There is nothing new about this. Americans have always coped. The fact helped forge the national character. Yes, there has been loss of property, maybe much loss of property. I am sorry for those who lost theirs. I hope they are insured.  That’s one of the things insurance is for. The other thing is to replace many functions of government. This will be for another time.

And how about the loss of life, some of you are thinking with bitterness? Well, here is a little more cynicism and here is another instance of the mass media’s mass mindlessness: As of late Sunday afternoon Pacific Standard Time, there seems to be media agreement that the tropical storm was directly responsible for a little under 20 deaths. I will bet the first five volunteers  $25  the following:

If you consider all the states with an Atlantic shoreline, the number of deaths they  will have experienced between Friday 1 am and this evening, Sunday, 12 midnight will turn out to be inferior to the number of deaths for the same period last year, or the year before.

The winnings to go to Doctors Without Borders to be paid by check with losers’  names and addresses. Please, no cheating. This is a matter of honor. I swear I am making the bet without having looked up the facts. I will abstain from doing so for the next 24 hours. I don’t need to anyway, so sure am I of my prediction.

UPDATE: UNFORTUNATELY, THE CASUALTY COUNT HAS RISEN TO NEAR FORTY SINCE  MONDAY. MY BET STANDS, NEVERTHELESS.

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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9 Responses to The Hurricane Wasn’t; Tropical Storm Saves Lives

  1. clamboslice says:

    The *only* reason I told my father in NYC to be worried was that the tides were a plus 6+ and with rain and water pushed higher by the winds, there would be some flooding here and there. Otherwise it of course was the usual “tempest in the teapot”, sort of along the lines of global warming and other nonsense. I got into trouble teasing about the tiny quake back there, so I guess I won’t mention this other “disappointment”.

  2. Bruce says:

    Bad news sells, real or manufactured. They’re also political side shows these days.
    The politicians sure make the most of these weather events. They all seem to subscribe to the Rahm Emanuel “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” principle. It can also tell you a lot about them individually. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie yelling at people as if they were children to get off the beach said a lot to me. Instead of sticking to the facts and letting the people decide what to do, the big-government-knows-best-over-reaction side of him came out. Not sure if anyone else noticed. He knows what’s best for you, and dammit you better do as he says and do it now! He also was quick to say how much damage in dollars was going to be done before the storm even got there. Maybe greasing the skids for some sweet Uncle Sugar FEMA money. Some people I’ve spoken with thought he was being forceful, I think he’s just a big government guy, despite the success he’s had union busting.
    Insurance is a sore subject for me. The government usually bails out folks that were uninsured by giving them low interest loans or handouts. Why do I feel like a sucker for paying Florida coastal home insurance every time this happens?
    Another thing was clear. The media continues their love affair with Obama. They showed over and over the First Family arriving back in Washington after cutting their vacation short by 36 hours. Poor guy. He’s not used to working very hard or being criticized for his actions or beliefs because as a product of affirmative action he never had deal with any of it. Obama said the only thing liberals ever say “If people are hurting, I want to hear about it”. Sounds like an injury-accident lawyer’s TV ad. Translated, this is telling the Governors of affected states, first that he cares, and second let me get out the checkbook. It’s going to be costly. Especially when the government is involved. The whole non-event will go down as yet another unforseen disaster preventing Obama’s efforts toward reducing unemployment from getting traction. In fact, if not for all the uncontrollable stuff happening, our economy would be humming. This theme will be repeated all the way to the 2012 presidential election. He can’t run on his record of profound failure, he needs excuses. He’s counting on events like bad weather, earthquakes, Arab Spring, global warming, etc., saving his chances for four more years in the White House. There’s a solid block of 40% of the population (the takers) who will vote for him regardless, all he needs to do is fool 10% of (the makers) to get it done. The state media will do whatever they can to deliver them.
    During the much ado about nothing event, the media even reached out to former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin for comment. Is that the height of insanity or what?

  3. jacquesdelacroix says:

    Good analysis. I agree.

  4. Kay Day says:

    This:
    “And, if you are tempted to think me insensitive, a monster, get this: American is a country exposed to the capricious actions of the old bitch, Mother Nature. There is nothing new about this. Americans have always coped. The fact helped forge the national character. ”

    That’s such an astute statement I wish I’d written it myself.

  5. Jacques,

    Get away from the TV! Read a book, or write one. Go outside and play on the beach. Too bad the news can’t forecast earthquakes. What would you do for three days watching TV about an earthquake bearing down on you? Take care, Dave S.

  6. jacquesdelacroix says:

    This is just a test.

  7. jacquesdelacroix says:

    Svetlana!

  8. Thomas H. says:

    Yes, the news about a simple and powerful hurricane, rare in places like Vermont and so forth, is not as interesting for many of us as what is going on in the Middle East and Africa at this point. The thing that really gets me is the reporting is all based on, apparently, projected ratings, and is designed as well to help people stay calm and sleep at night. Also, would you not agree, there’s more economic value in real estate in New England and surrounding areas than in Tripoli, etc., or maybe I am just missing the point completely. I am sorry about the damage people have suffered, especially by floods; and the Libya and other issues are captivating as well. This stuff just never ends, and one has to choose, and according to the production and media companies: Why not go by ratings?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Thomas: One has to chose of course, including media companies. I dislike many of their choices and I say so. If they listen to me and to hundreds like me, they might even avoid going under.

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