An educational experience

Trained apes at play

Watching television for its hurricane coverage offers a fascinating view of how the media manipulates its viewers. There’s Jim Cantore, speaking to some “expert” in a secure, undisclosed location who is opining on his opinion of surge height. The damn fool won’t get with the game until Cantore presses: “so you’re saying we can expect catastrophic damage?” Well he hadn’t until then but understanding that you don’t get on TV unless you cooperate, the man readily agreed: “Oh yes – people coming back on Tuesday won’t recognize the beaches they left just Sunday”. Only in media land is beach erosion a “catastrophe”, but that term clearly has a different meaning when used by wannabe meteorologist reporters.

And I’m enjoying the shots of anchor women (the phenomenon seems limited to women) who listen intently to what a colleague is saying and then turn to face the camera and nod their head, as though vouching for the accuracy of what the talking baboon next to her has just said. Fun stuff.

Another thing I noticed, and something that must drive TV producers nuts, are the stupid civilians who ruin dramatic shots of “deserted ghost towns” whose residents are supposed to have all fled – they come back just as the cameras roll, dressed in flip flops and shorts or even jogging outfits and get between the intrepid reporter and the raging sea and really crapping up the whole image of men and women braving the elements to bring us the truth.

Then there are the constant comparisons to last year’s hurricane, Irene, which was hardly a hurricane at all, and only Irene. Is this because the producers don’t trust their viewers to have memories that extend back more than a year or because comparing a real storm to a baby one is more dramatic? I’m guessing it’s door number two.

And I just saw some guy who, in the midst of his reporting on the cruel sea took care to note for his viewers that he wasn’t trampling the sea grass – I kid you not – so as to preserve the dunes from human damage and, presumably, let the waves ruin them instead.

Amazing stuff – I’ve got to start watching TV more often.


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11 responses to “An educational experience

  1. Walt

    Dude –
    I am working on the Haiku book. I don’t know why the gooks invented this stuff, but when you start writing it, it is addictive. Like pistachio’s!! 5/7/5 cadence Dude!!

    The storm is almost here
    The wind blows like a cheap whore
    Enjoy it while you can.

    Storm Sandy theme Dude!

    Trapped in my little house
    The stormy winds howl around my head
    Can someone loan me porno?

    One more!!

    A dog must shit outside
    No matter the weather outside they dump
    Your dog wants an outhouse.

    Did you count all my lines on your fingers?
    I bet you did, you loser!!
    Your Pal,

  2. AJ

    No one smore intently than Soledad O’brien. But here’s a good one: remember the reporter paddling her canoe through the deep flooded waters when a couple of people stroll by in what turns out to be only a couple of inches of water. Canoe footage starts at :22

  3. Walt

    Dude –
    Can you please let AJ know the HMS Bounty went down like 500 years ago? It was a British boat, captained by Marlon Brando, before he was a big fat slog. He had to fight off Hans Christian Anderson, who wanted to take the boat so he could bang chicks on Fiji. So anyways, they got in a fight, and shit didn’t work out. Who cares?

    CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT’S A MOVIE!! It really is!! Dude. We need to get serious on the treatment. It’s easy money. What do you want to write about? Zombie Lezbo’s from GAR? Mr. Dirt? The story of a hapless loser on Ole’s Creek? Pick a topic and we can bang it out.

    Give me a subject and I will have a full screenplay before Sandy is done queefing.

    Your Pal,

  4. AJ

    It’s all about control. I remember several years ago a gas refinery was shut down in the Southwest and the news was hyped to the limit — people in Quebec even started lining up for gas. I think that a lot of news items are just a test to see how the public will react, much like the Stanford prison experiment. They want to know just how easy it will be to get us all on the cattle cars and off to reeducation camps, comming to a town near you soon.

  5. GPD Folk

    Heard a reporter just say from Fairfield,”destructive 4 ft waves” huh?

  6. Balzac

    Thank you Chris for reminding us that TV coverage of weather catastrophes is exaggerated, one-sided, and simple-minded. It aims merely at provoking an emotional response among those who are instinctually sympathetic, but not reflective.

    Gee, you don’t suppose the political coverage also shares these characteristics, do you?

  7. GDP: Sound Beacher has been posting photos to me today, from Old Greenwich. Chris, looks like a couple of houses are going to be on the market soon, as land, once the house floats away tonight or tomorrow.

  8. GPD Folk

    As Christopher will tell you EOS Old Greenwich is always one of the first to be evacuated lots of water/flood issues but they’ll “weather the storm”