August 30, 2005

Cry Me Some Comic Relief

I wasn’t going to post about the storm, but realized I must. It’s not really about the storm, it’s about the reporting of the storm. I’m hoping this will count for originality, at least somewhat.

I am not heartless; let it be known up front that I do feel deeply for those affected by Katrina, but the following post is my pathetic attempt to share some form of levity (it’s allowed … really) to an otherwise grave situation.

While listening to and watching the news this weekend, I couldn’t help but zone in on several profound statements uttered by the various anchors. A couple of these verbal gems, I found to be rip-snortin’ knee slappers … but perhaps only because I desperately needed release from all the tension. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, no matter what the trauma is, I shall always seek and find some sort release.

It feels like it’s my duty to share these precious statements with you ~ to get them into writing. Enjoy.

~ CNN ~ Female anchor informed me that traffic on Sunday afternoon was tied up terribly, in fact, “bumper to bumper” on this one road leading out of New Orleans. She said (and I’m not being creative here) “Traffic is now at a virtual standstill, and I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse.”

Now [scratching head] … I’ve BEEN in traffic at a virtual standstill. I’ve sat on I-95 Southbound for five hours on a Fourth of July weekend … not moving one foot in 40 minutes time. Zip. Squat. So my question is, exactly how does it get worse than a standstill? Do they start going in reverse?

~ MSNBC ~ Footage showing female reporter out in the early storm winds and torrential rain. She says these words, “It’s so bad out here you can’t stand up!” Problem? There she was, standing up while she made this revelation.

~ CNN ~ Male reporter, again, out in the downpour, being blown about as he suddenly turned to his extreme right and kept his face into the rain for a full count of thirty “You see? You can’t do this. You can’t look right into the rain, it’s pelting so forcefully!”

Okay fella, I’ll tell you what you can’t do. You can’t tell me what you can’t do while you’re freaking DOING it. That’s what you can’t do! You may tell me what you can’t do while you’re NOT doing it … that I’ll buy. But mama didn’t raise no fool here. If you ran out of shit to say, turn off the mic.

~ FOX NEWS ~ (and I swear to you, these are all statements that I documented) Male meteorologist standing before map of Florida and discussing how badly Katrina hit a certain area, “A friend of mine told me, in fact, that this was the worst catagory one storm he’s ever witnessed.”

Okay, let’s keep it in perspective here, just for a second. Category one means just that - category one. They put them into categories for a reason. Because if it gets worse than a category one, they can call it a category two, and so on.

Category one is, by every definition possible, the least horrific hurricane of the bunch; the runt of the hurricane litter. Even the worst category one hurricane is STILL just a category one. I didn’t make this rule ~ blame the weather weenies. So, in essence, what this highly educated meteorologist said to millions of viewers that day, was “…this was the strongest weakest storm he’s ever witnessed.” I’m sorry, but I find some humor in that.

~ CNN ~ While reading a prompt, one of the female anchors, tired (I’m sure) after a full day of repetitious reporting, spoke these words while they showed an image of a flooded street in New Orleans:
“And here we can see signs of early flooding in the easternmost area of Los Angeles.” You may want to read it again.

Mind you, this was a photo they had already aired about 942 times throughout the morning. I knew it was in New Orleans, she knew it was in New Orleans, but I found it kind of comical that the tired neurons in her brain forced her to say “Los Angeles” when they intercepted the abbreviation for Louisiana – “LA”

I’ll admit, that one, I thought was more cute than comical or pathetic.

Of course, I’ve saved the best for last.

~ CNN ~ The female anchor was about to switch us over to images of the video conference between the President and the emergency management team. She, in all her infinite reporting wisdom, made the following announcement:

“Now we’re going to bring you the live video conference between President Bush and the emergency response team. This is quite an event … just remember folks, in this room you will see all the people responsible for controlling the weather.”

You know, I never thought in all my days I’d get to actually SEE the folks responsible for controlling the weather. Never. It WAS going to be quite the event. And to think I always figured nature controlled the weather.

I watched really hard and these people didn’t have wings, they didn’t have halos or horns, they weren’t surrounded by balls of light and they didn’t look the least bit godlike. I was more than a little bit disappointed by this.

I’m sure it’s not always easy to be a news anchor, a reporter, or a weatherman, but it sure can be a wonderful source of entertainment if you just look beyond the news.

I got my release this weekend. I hope you find yours.

Stay safe ... and try to do it smiling.


Blogger Swifty said...

Hi Carol, I'm jealous. I didn't get my "release" this weekend. Anway, you sure nailed those broadcasters, and some of it was documented? A true Blogger indeed. I bow to you. As for those weathr controllers, if ever they show their faces in the UK they'll get lynched for all the bad Bank Holiday Weather they've given us over the years.

Excellent Post.

9:35 AM  
Blogger The Other Half said...

I'm sorry for LMAO when there are people dead because of the hurricane, but this was funny...

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Simply Coll said...

Morning Carol,

The 24 hour news stations are the worst. They have to dig deep to fill their air time. What offended me the most was the doomsday news broadcasting ( esp. CNN ) during the preamble about 12 hours before the storm hit. Many times I heard one of the broadcasters predicting the catastrophic destruction of the area especially, New Orleans.

This storm was, and is, a very dire situation. It did not need to be sensationalized. The facts would have spoken volumes by themselves.

Thanks for providing a little comic relief.

My thoughts are with those who have suffered because of this storm.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

Right you are, Carol. I was noticing all the misstatements as well, but didn't take notes. There was certainly a lot of colorful hyperbole flying through the air, though. I haven't seen that much hype since I talked to Andy Dick's agent.

Another great post!

11:11 AM  
Blogger sands of time said...

Carol trust you to pick up on those.I think we all heard them in some context but you make them so amusing.

11:57 AM  
Blogger psuche said...

Good one Carol,

When I teach, sometimes words just come out of your mouth and then you think.. that was not what I meant to say, but somet of the things you quoted aren't just slip ups but full on ignorance (coming from those that 'accurately' report events is scary) :)

Oh, and if I hear the word catastrophic one more time, I'm gonna lose it.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Great post. I enjoyed those.

I swear this is true: A couple months ago I was listening to Sean Hannity on the radio. He asked a caller-in about coming to his show if she could get the time off of work:

"If I can get you off, will you come?"

Those were his exact words. Funny!

3:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Anchor men/women can say the funniest things...what's more, they don't know they've said them, and they're saying them with such a grave expession at the time.

I've just crossed "WeatherGirl" off my list of future jobs...just in case you're watching lol

3:30 PM  
Blogger annush said...

you are too funny carol. I love your writings, i really do!

4:00 PM  
Blogger dan said...

my thought are with those of n.o.

4:35 PM  
Blogger kenju said...

Carol, if George Carlin ever gets sick - you can fill in for him nicely. You are so aware of the comedy in everyday life; I bow before you!

5:40 PM  
Blogger lilly05 said...

The storm's devistation is truly awesome to behold and my heart goes out to those affected by it. I would like to note; however, that regardless of the size or destructive capabilities of any potential storm there will always be someone dumb enough to go stand in front of it on camera and make mind numbingly stupid and/or repetitive statements. Now that's entertainment!

5:41 PM  
Blogger Floridacracker said...

Good post...they do restate the obvious quite a bit. Today on MSNBC, a report on the flooding of New Orleans stated that "80 percent of the river was underwater."
They were tired, they met "city" not river, but I still enjoyed it.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Alisa said...

I really really really need to watch the news more often!

Thanks for keeping us up to date on what our anchors are up to.

Too funny!

6:33 PM  
Blogger Wicked H said...

Thoughts and prayers of course with those who are suffering and trying to cope. But I second the motion for Carol being the stand-in for Carlin.

Most excellent post.

7:20 PM  
Blogger dulciana said...

Well, I'm just so happy to know that someone's out there controlling the weather. Too funny!

8:07 PM  
Blogger jon said...

HA HA! I also love it when they intervue some moron walking down the sidewalk in an effort to get his professional opinion on where the storm might track or his estimates on damage. There are people walking down the sidewalk infront of my house I could ask if I thought they actually could provide valid imput!

10:16 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

i liked your commentary. i did some alternative reporting of the hurricane as well over at Freudian Slips. we share the same feelings of the exhaustive reporting.

10:29 PM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

it looks like you were really paying attention carol. i sure feel sorry for these people though.

1:07 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...

You wonder sometimes don't you!!!
Funny stuff in a sad situation, great post Carol!

2:20 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Stupid weather controllers. I knew there was another reason to hate Bush.

This seriously was a great post. I liked how you did not downplay the tragedy but brought out the comic relief. Sometimes you have to laugh, even among the catastrophic (sorry, couldn't resist).

I am going to have to start watching the news again, I think. This was hilarious.

1:59 PM  
Blogger GratisGab said...

Hi Carol, today being Blog day, I put up a post on it and as per the "rules" I'm letting you know that I recommended you! So here you go and hope you like!

6:20 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Good one Carol! I've noticed these little "brain farts" these media folks make too from time to time.

Isn't the media great!

6:27 PM  
Blogger anantha said...

Or mebbe Big Brother ACTUALLY controls the weather. I could see the Cigarette Smoking Man right there somewhere. Where is Mulder when you need him????

lol.... Came here from Gabby's today and I will be back....

8:18 PM  
Blogger Carol (Smiles and Laughter) said...

ROFL. Thanks. I needed that!

10:19 PM  
Blogger Pallavi said...

First time here.. Carol.. And nice to read your posts...
I was just going through Hurrican news and blogs and it was a life relief lets say to read about the stuff that you wrote... sometimes we take everything so seriously that we miss out on the irony..

And yeah my prayers are with the affected souls...

And yep will be back to

3:41 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

The worst part of what they say is not what they say but the fact that they are reading it off a monitor and had time to rehearse alot of the stuff that they say unless its a new item that has just come up and even them it is writen and put on the screen for them. I will give them credit for keeping a straight face for some of the new stuff that someone just wrote for them to read.

7:18 AM  
Blogger mike charles survivor said...

I appreciate your kind words. Some of your readers are a bit naive. Yes, the media is full of gloom and doom. But then, I was there and lucky to be here, thank god, to even make these comments. There's a lot of people dead, including friends and family who all felt the 'doom' and didn't live to tell about it. The media doesn't even capture how horrible it was. My story is one of college buddies who never thought the storm would be any worse than severe rain and wind... we weren't expecting Banda Aceh in America. Are we to blame?

12:17 PM  
Blogger Dave Morris said...

Heard a reporter on MSNBC this morning say "I'm standing among the rubble that was formerly people's homes... where people used to live."

No shit, sherlock.

PS - My word verification for this entry was ohtoote. hahaha!

1:59 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Great job Carol! I know everyone is concerned about the aftermath of Katrina and the problems going on, but this was great. Thanks for the smiles.

3:31 PM  
Blogger The Humanity Critic said...

Just passing through, I'm liking the blog by the way.

6:41 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

That's pretty funny in an unfunny situation!

9:25 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I think in times like this, where there's been a tremendous tragedy that involves the loss of lives, livelihood, homes, and memories, it's very easy to forget to smile. Thank you for sharing these faux pas with us, it is much appreciated.

1:05 AM  
Blogger NYCbeauty said...

Very funny and very opposite from my post on Katrina. Although I did add some things in there about news coverage. Hope you are doing well

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what's up with the CNN anchor gals hair. Is it because they are in Atlanta? Feathered hair, orange hair, wtf.

10:12 AM  
Blogger Lone Ranger said...

Category One Hurricane:
Winds 74-95 mph (64-82 kt or 119-153 km/hr). Storm surge generally 4-5 ft above normal. No real damage to building structures. Damage primarily to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, and trees. Some damage to poorly constructed signs. Also, some coastal road flooding and minor pier damage.

So, technically, there can be good and bad category one hurricanes, depending on whether the wind is blowing at 74 or 95 mph, whether the storm surge is four or five feet above normal, and whether you get decapitated by a poorly constructed stop sign or hit by an unanchored mobile home.

I used to be a TV weatherman. Don't doubt us.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

lone ranger,

Welcome to the Cerebral Outpost!

Thank you for pointing out the wind velocity of a catagory one hurricane.

I was aiming at lightheartedness at the time I created this post. I realize in light of the way things turned out with the storm in N.O. there isn't a whole lot of lightheartedness to be found anywhere anymore, but I wrote this piece early in the week.

I do appreciate your comment very much and will only add that there is nothing wrong with stating that a catagory one is and always will be a catagory one UNTIL it becomes a catagory two; and that's whether one is seeking humor or not.

Moreover, if you remain indoors, as most weathermen would suggest, you wouldn't be hit with an errant stop sign or mobile home.

Sorry if I offended you in any way, shape or form.

Stop back again sometime when I haven't posted something so controvertial. You may actually enjoy your stay.


11:21 AM  
Blogger Raehan said...

If I had read this post when you wrote it (early in the week) it would have been very funny, as I was laughing at the coverage, too.

Now, not so funny, huh?

7:37 PM  
Blogger happyandblue2 said...

I'm glad you posted this. I have been reading depressing post after depressing post. I really needed something to smile about..

10:43 AM  
Blogger Rob Seifert said...

Well lady, you've done it again. You made me smile. News corespondants - FEH! I rarely watch the news anymore, in part, because of this nonsense. Thanks for the laugh Carol.


12:31 PM  
Blogger L said...

those are great :)

we could all use a little levity right now

9:20 PM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

I love watching the newscasters during times of duress because we see their true selves. have to admit i find myself screaming at the screen,

"it was a hurricane, moron, not a tsunami! The water didn't go away, it stayed..." when they make the comparisons to disaster relief efforts.

My favorite quote during one of these sad times happened when Columbia exploded over Texas and the guy from NPR asked a retired NASA engineer,
"So why didn't they utilize their parachutes?" There is a moment of stunned silence before you heard,
"You have to remember the orbital craft is flying a several thousand miles per hour, generating 25,000 degrees on its surface. No person or parachute could survive the conditions. Not missing a beat the reporter says,
"So you're saying they don't actually have any parachutes aboard?" Total silence follows...

3:46 AM  
Blogger Lizabeth said...

I bet they are going to fire all those guys in the room controlling the weather. They really screwed up this time! Probably drinking and having a good time and hit the wrong button.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Hick said...

This is good. Actually it's the best reporting of reporting that I've seen so far.

10:53 AM  

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