Heeeeeere's Frankenstorm. All bets are off.
Television editors and reporters and some of our flightiest politicians have abandoned the presidential campaign for more frightful stuff. They’re determined, as usual, to make something bad a lot worse.
The tone of the coverage, not of the storm but of the wait for the storm, ranges from “excited” to “hysterical.” A tsunami warning was canceled Sunday for Hawaii, but you might think if it could squeeze through the Panama Canal and make a few sharp turns out of the Gulf of Mexico it would threaten Manhattan. Mayor Michael Bloomberg could have taken that possibility into account -- or maybe by shutting down the trains and subways he was preventing thirsty evil-doers in Manhattan from traveling into the 'burbs to find a man-sized soda pop.
This time, the threat to the Atlantic coast was real, but “television news” in times of peril invites both skepticism and hysteria. Usually, but not always. When Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who is nobody’s nanny, speaks, everybody has to listen: “Don’t be stupid. Get out!”
We like to think of America as the land of the big shoulders, hog butcher for the world, stacker of wheat – stormy, husky and brawling. That’s in fair weather. Carl Sandburg wouldn’t recognize men at the supermarkets grabbing as many rolls of toilet paper as grubby hands can hold. The supermarkets typically run out of quilted, super absorbent and extra fluffy first, which tells us something sad about “the fearfulest generation.” Rain, wind or shine, the Sears and Roebuck catalog, slick and glossy paper stock or not, was good enough for “the greatest generation.” Not ours.
In Washington, where shoulders are rarely as big and broad as those in Chicago or Pittsburgh or Albuquerque, a frightened stacker of paper (not wheat) is more likely to die under the wheels of a speeding grocery cart than in the embrace of a hurricane.
Excited talk of potential tracks, storm cones, computer models, water-vapor loops and tidal cycles diverted attention from the Romney surge and settled attention on the storm surge. ...
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