Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

"Oh, The Weather Outside is Freakin' FRIGHTFUL!"

There is nothing that warms the hearts of television news directors and producers quite so much as a THREATENING WINTER STORM or an ARCTIC WINTER BLAST or DANGEROUSLY COLD CONDITIONS. They love this stuff. They simply love it. Why? Because weather, or so their consultants tell them, brings in viewers. That's the reason the local forecast has about 12 minutes of unnecessarily confusing radar images, isobars and temperatures from every known community and about :30 of actual information. Let's face it, you can "do" the weather in under ten seconds. "Cold tonight, low around zero. High tomorrow around 25, with a chance of flurries. Tomorrow night, cold again, with a low of 15." Done. Even if you do it realllllllly slow, and repeat it twice, it's still shorter than :30.

But we have long passed from weather being simple and to the point. Today weather has to be SCARY! Temperatures are "dangerously cold." Snow is "hazardous." Even a sunny day has it's caveat; check the UV index! Run! Put a hat on!

The unfortunate part is that the public has played along with this silliness. Never before have more people driven more four-wheel drive vehicles, but been less able to manuveur them in 2 inches of snow! Schools close when the first flake falls! Businesses let the frightened masses out early to clog the highways! All because some dork on TV gets everyone wound up.

Many years ago, when I lived in a Northeast city, the local TV stations scared the bejesus out of everyone with what they were calling the "storm of the century." So everyone scurried home. Businesses closed early. We huddled with our hot chocolate and waited. And waited. When the sun rose the next morning, there was NO snow. No a bit. The only moral there is; get a life.

Along with the SUVs, today we also have the best, warmest clothing money can buy. Boots that'll keep you toasty to 60 below zero. Cars that have heated seats. Snowblowers. Deicers. Heated mittens for scraping your windows. So what is all the whining about?

Here's my advice. Turn off the TV news, turn off The Weather Channel and go out and play in the snow. And teach your children that snow and cold weather is FUN, not something to be afraid of. Better yet, help them build a snow man that looks like the local weather guy, then do what Tootie did in "Meet Me In St. Louis;" go outside and whack its head off.