14 December 2007

America Loves To Feel Cozy And Scared, But It's Cool. I Get It.

It’s O.K. to be scared if your inside your house, under the covers with the front doors locked and the weather outside your window.

In fact, no sooner does the fright settle in that it quickly turns to coziness and a feeling of warmth and safety.

We subconsciously and inherently enjoy being alarmed when we're in no real danger. Everyone has seen “the crawl”. You know the conga-line of text which suddenly scrolls the bottom of the screen during Oprah or a football game. It warns you of storms and snow and thunder and fire and brimstone and death and famine and war in places like Putnam County, Fairfield, Connecticut and Rockland County in the west.

Poor Putnam County, always getting rocked by The Four Horsemen.

In America the ice-storm is an event. And it is not an event which one is careless about. When it comes, the news flies from room to room in the house, there are bangings on the doors, and shoutings, ‘The ice-storm! the ice-storm!’ and even the laziest sleepers throw off the covers and join the rush for the windows.”

Samuel Langhorne Clemens wrote that in 1897. And it still rings true today.

Anytime there's a storm, or simply the threat of a storm, we are inundated with reports and charts and graphs and eyewitness accounts and people start stocking up on things like D batteries and powdered milk.

We love to panic. We love to be cozy when there's fear. It's all return to the womb shit that I won't get into now because I'll go on a year-long tangent.

Anytime there's a storm, you'll have the 4 poor fucks on the local news set up like the Brady Bunch in 4 cubes on the screen, with all sorts of storm graphics and special FX. The four reporters stand there, patiently trembling while holding their microphones as the anchor chooses which one to go to first and the other 3 must then continue to wait on the side of a highway somewhere in Douglaston. It's Hollywood Squares meets Simon.

I just love the news when they pull out all the stops. They've called in meteorologists from sister stations in Ottawa and Vermont. They're firing on all cylinders; they've got every graphic going, all the charts, and reporters on the shoulders of every highway this side of the Mississippi, all to make you feel cozy, inside your house.

Because if you're watching their storm coverage that means you are inside, on your couch, sitting down, in no danger. It's their job to sell you these illusions. It's their job to make you feel a bit apprehensive about going outside. Why? So you'll stay inside and watch their channel and buy their advertisers products, silly!


You think they really give a fuck about you and the black ice on 287? The guy in his '87 Honda navigating the black ice on 287 is fucked and of no consequence. They are looking for YOU, the viewer, at home, drinking Swiss Miss and petting your tabby named Myles.

They're gonna do whatever they can to scare the bejesus out of you so when this storm clears up, if it ever does, you'll resume life and buy their advertisers products and watch their shows and buy their advertisers products.

Myles, the cat, is not impressed.

Nine times out of ten the storm they've been teasing never comes but it doesn't matter. You're so pig-in-shit happy the storm passed over that you forget how fucking terrified Channel X made you at the time.

And even then, it still doesn't matter because all Channel X wanted was you glued to the TV for as long as they could keep you glued. Buy their shit. Watch their commercials. Buy their shit. Storm or no storm, who cares. Meterologists don't give a shit.

A rare photo of the blizzard that never was

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Liz Cho is clearly an alien. Don't you think she looks like a real girl doll? or a cheap blow up doll? i don't like it (whines)