Friday, August 26, 2005

weather or not

The Exorcist is a bit of a news junkie. I think I od on information somedays. But there's only so much you can retain. And making sense of it all - as if there really were such a thing as a coherent world view - is just more than my tiny Catholic brain can handle.

That said, I find the national news chains' coverage of hurricanes during the hurricane season very irritating. Not that tropical depressions in the waters near Antigua aren't noteworthy. But the minute to minute updates on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox about hurricanes Horace, Igor and Jezebel inching closer to the Florida coast... oh wait, maybe not, our latest up-to-the-nano-second Doppler radar image shows that he/she may change trajectory ever so slightly... bore me to tears. Their efforts to liven it up with shots of seniors buying plywood at Home Depot or those devil-may-care hipsters still body surfing as the tide surges only reinforce the tedium.

And doesn't it seem that the breathless weather reporters, egged on by their hyperventillating anchors, want each and every storm to be as catastrophic as possible? Right now it's just a category six tropical storm, but see those warm waters by the Bermuda coast, they are REALLY feeding Isabel right now so I can see this baby picking up strength to become a cat one or even a cat two by landfall, and as it rips through the mainland it will again gain force so we may see a cat four or cat five by the time it gets back to the coast. Wow, Darlene, and to think that this is already the eighth hurricane of hurricane season in an area where hurricanes happen all the time... Absolutely right, Dave, this is scary stuff...

There is such eagerness in their voices, trying to impress upon us the urgency and newsworthiness of it all. And what disappointment when the southeast US still largely exists after Isabel has blown out to sea...

Anyway, my beef could be stated thus: do we really need suffocating, second to second national coverage every time a storm whips up in the Gulf of Mexico? Why not leave the constant updates to the local news people and just tell the rest of us about it in a sound byte or two when it's all over? In our times there seems to be real news, worthy of analysis, breaking at high speed every day. Spending 22 minutes of a 48 minute broadcast on the weather seems a little excessive, dontcha think?