Mack Hall, HSGMhall46184@aol.com
29 August 2012
Eye of the Hamster
Much national news writing is predicated on clichés, stereotypes, and hyperbole, and hurricane season is when the keyboard commandos in Our Nation’s Capital (in caps) pour themselves cups of green tea, limber up their manicured fingers, and fling filler-language as carelessly as an oil sheik throwing American dollars at luxuries.
Certain hurricane cliches’ disappear with time – “The Mother of All Hurricanes” is as dead as Saddamn Hussein. Others, such as “we’re not out of the woods,” seem to be as indestructible as Dracula, popping up out of his coffin every August and September.
Some entries in the well-thumbed dictionary of hurricane-babble include:
Dodged the bullet
Storms that brew – what do they brew? Tea? Coffee?
Storms that gain or lose steam, as if they were teakettles
Hurricanes that pound
Hurricanes that lash
Hurricanes that pummel
Reduced to rubble
Wreak havoc – what does “wreak” mean?
Left a swath of destruction in its wake -- what’s a swath, eh?
Hurricanes that make landfall – well, what else would they make? A gun rack in shop class?
Hurricanes that slam ashore
Hurricanes that storm ashore – well of course they storm; they’re storms
Changed my life forever
Mother Nature's wrath
Mother Nature’s fury
Mother Nature's anything
Looked like a war zone – no one ever looked over the blood-sodden ground after a fight in Afghanistan and said “Gee, this looks like a hurricane zone.”
Decimated - unless precisely one out of every ten people was killed
Trees snapping like matchsticks - do matchsticks ever snap like trees?
Batten down the hatches - I forgot to buy a hatch; I wonder if the stores are still open
Cars tossed about like Matchbox toys / Cars smashed like matchboxes
Boats bobbing like corks / boats smashed like matchboxes
Roofs peeled off
Rain coming down in sheets - never blankets or pillow slips?
Calm before the storm – almost always “eerie”
Calm in the eye of the storm – also almost “eerie”
Calm after the storm – yes, almost always “eerie”
ANY allusion to Katrina
Storm of the century
A Hurricane that defined a generation
In the crosshairs
From this list of fluffery one can then assemble a sentence wholly devoid of meaning, just like the networks do:
In my own personal opinion, and in conclusion, at the end of the day, the bottom line is that when all is said and done, when the skinny man sings, that Mother Nature, in the form of mighty Hurricane Gaia, the storm of the century, thundering and slamming ashore in a turbulent and fateful pre-dawn, wreaked havoc on our homeland, snapping trees like matchsticks and leaving a swath of destruction in her wake that looked like a war zone and changed our lives forever, requiring us to seek closure and healing from grief counselors.