Seeing D.C. crippled by weather and therefore unable to influence the news cycle with more back-and-forth about health care reform bills, filibusters, jobs reports and activist judges was really kind of pleasant for the last few days. There were still some interesting bits of news coming from the world of politics—Sarah Palin’s cliff notes written on her hand during her overpaid Q&A at some radical convention—and in the media sphere—with Bill O’Reilly’s Jon Stewart interview.
But instead of all the never-ending national concerns, we got a chance to see television journalists doing what they do best: scaring the crap out of us.
What was it the Europeans were making fun of us for calling it? A Snowpocalypse? Sure, we got a dusting (if you even want to call it that) in Northern New Jersey, but I’m told Asbury Park had a foot. That’s pretty significant. Certain parts of Maryland had three feet. You could easily lose a large dog in three feet of snow. Or a small child. Two-hundred-thousand federal workers had the day off in D.C. on Monday.
Having the day off doesn’t sound apocalyptic. Sounds kind of nice actually. The apocalyptic gravity is questionable on a couple of levels, since not everywhere that was predicted to be crippled by snow was. And it’s not the end of days. But this week, we’re supposed to get more.
This time, it’s a Snowmaggedon.
Actually, if you closely follow the neologisms, the last one was also a Snowmaggedon. While the Washington Post was the first to coin the word ‘Snowpocalypse’ (take that, bloggers!), Barack Obama coined ‘Snowmaggedon.’
Maybe we weren’t that isolated from talking heads after all. And maybe Obama should have taken a deal from CNN or MSNBC if he didn’t get elected. Imagine the entertaining commentary he’d be giving instead of the cold stares of Palin on the Factor and whatever Glenn Beck’s show is called.
Glenn Beck’s Overpaid Weepy Man Hour? Is that it? Didn’t O’Reilly call him an ‘everyman?’ God forbid. The only everyman I know that should be allowed to cry this week is Peyton Manning. Or maybe Joseph Addai.
Perhaps a world where Obama lost would be better. At least he’d be on television less as a commentator. Actually, the practical result would probably be about the same. In that alternate universe, Congress wouldn’t let the President do anything. Just like now, except every news organization wouldn’t be explaining cloture voting to me like I wasn’t paying attention in U.S. History.
But the snow is the real story. Nothing is more appealing for a journalist than the blizzard story (as made evident by this non-column). More headlines? Washington City Paper’s ‘Snow More Mr. Nice Guy’ is a good one. The Washington Post tried for two, referencing a ‘Snow-munity’ of people helping each other deal with the snowfall. Bit of a clunker. The National Weather Service called the upcoming nor’easter “explosively developing,” which Delaware’s Sussex Countian mistyped as ‘expolosive’ in their headline. I found that endearing. The extra vowel makes it sound more fun.
Perhaps this one will be ‘Expolopocalyptic.’ Sounds like something that needs to be surgically removed.
In a related story and another example of planet Earth not giving a damn what its inhabitants have planned, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver are actually low on snow. As in they’re trucking snow in. Despite it being as far north as it is, the weather system in Vancouver rarely creates much snow, and coupled with a heat wave, it’s put the Olympic games in an uneasy position. Headline for that? ‘Snow no!’ Thanks go to the New York Daily News.