PLANET SIZZLES AS IRENE FIZZLES and CRITICS DRIZZLE; WE GOT IT RIGHT, THEY GOT IT WRONG … plus … SORRY, CRITICS, THAT YOU DIDN’T GET THE DEATH AND DESTRUCTION YOU APPARENTLY WANTED
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, TUESDAY, AUG. 30, 2011) — Many critics who lashed out at THE PLANET for our comments on the dud Irene seemed upset by what they read. The reason for this, while puzzling to some of our fans, is clear to THE PLANET.
For whatever reason — and it differs from person to person — the ones who got upset at our take on the fizzled and drizzled storm hated to be reminded of the truth: that the Storm of a Million Lifetimes, which the press and personal scuttlebutt did their best to scare the mustard out of people, did little more than muss the hair of Berkshire County. These critics suffered a case of intelligence fed to them by this website and got mad at us because they find it hard to get back to their ignorance. Kind of like an intellectual version not of “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” but “I got up, and I’ve forgotten how to fall.”
‘Is That All There Is’?
Virtually everyone who posted — friend or foe — confirmed the truth of what we reported: The Berkshire escaped virtually untouched. There were no fatalities, a few downed trees, and some leaves blowing in the wind, along with Bob Dylan. We toured Pittsfield last night. Like Peggy Lee, we sang, “Is that all there is? Then let’s keep dancing. Let’s bring out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”
South County had MUCH WORSE than that this summer, when one fine day the wind blew with much more force than Irene (and it rained much harder, too). Many trees went down and caused significant property damage. Check the homes, camps, and cottages around Stockbridge Bowl if you wish to verify, or many of the properties on Route 7 in the Athens of Berkshire County.
Folks Were ‘Taken In’ by the Relentless Hype & Brainwashing
The unusually irate and angry tone of many of our beloved critics says to us that some people didn’t like to be reminded that they were taken in by the incessant blathering of endless-loop 24/7 Weather Channel brain washing. Irene was an “uneven and hard-to-predict” storm. Some got hit a little bit harder than others. Berkshire County got a light tap on the fanny. Stockbridge didn’t even get that.
The golf course, situation next to the Housatonic River, flooded, but that’s a biannual occurrence.
People got taken. That’s pretty much all THE PLANET said by way of commentary. Yet to hear the ravings of our critics, you’d think we’d unsquared the circle and claimed to find the final resting place of Pi.
Hurricane Irene was actually downgraded. Two days from land, it was a Category 3 Hurricane. A day from land, a hurricane hunting airplane flew into Irene and reported that the storm’s winds had dropped markedly. It was barely a Category 1 at that point. In fact, some weather people — uh, meteorologists … sorry —were labeling it a cyclone at that point. In other words, it was only arguably a hurricane.
The Weather Channel’s Deliberate Fudging
Patrick Michaels of Forbes.com reported that despite the downgrade of Irene from a hurricane to a cyclone, The Weather Channel left its forecasts “virtually unchanged,” hyping the event and fictionalizing the extent of the storm: “… the Thursday evening forecast was virtually unchanged, the Internet went thermonuclear, and the Weather Channel’s advertising rates skyrocketed. From that point on, it became all Irene, all the time. With this level of noise, the political process has to respond with full mobilization. Hype begets hype.”
As of the latest reports, 38 people died as a direct consequence of the hurricane, in a swath of land with a population of about 130 million people. And while the death of one person is a tragedy, always, let’s get that clear, for those of you who want THE PLANET to be The Monster. And I’m sorry for all of you who wanted more tragedy, more deaths, more destruction than what we actually got. THE PLANET will do our best next time to see that it happens.
Speaking of the Big D, most of those people died as the result of stupidity, such as the dope who decided to wade into the Atlantic (forget if this was in North Caroline or Florida) while his friends and family were watching from the beach (even that was a dangerous place to be). The man got knocked down by an undertow. Others risked their lives to bring him to shore. He was pronounced dead after CPR failed. Or how about the rocket scientist who decided to watch the waves crashing from an ocean dock? Or the nuclear physicist who wanted to prove that he could withstand cyclonic winds? As comedian Ron White observed, “It’s not THAT the wind is blowing. It’s WHAT the wind is blowing.” Ouch.
From NYC, Our Friends Report: ‘Bored’ by The Big Snore
And this, from so-called “devastated” NYC, on the CNN website: ” Tropical Storm Irene’s swipe at the Big Apple proved Sunday that New Yorkers can be a tough crowd to impress. ‘I slept through the whole thing,’ said James Trager, a writer who said he was nonplussed by nature’s display of fury that took place outside his windows overlooking 58th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Midtown. ‘Nothing. It’s exaggerated.’”
Another New Yorker, Jamie Keeling, a Facebook friend, posted: “Boring. Nothing to see here concerned family and friends. It’s a weak ending to all the hype. My state of emergency sleepover cohorts are sorely disappointed. Our survival skills were not tested. The skies are grey — in our unheroic hearts.”
THE PLANET also shares this with our critics and those who appreciated the rational approach we took to this over-hyped Big Wind. This is a blog posted on outsidethebeltway.com:
Within hours after Hurricane Irene had blown past the New York/New Jersey area, people were already starting to make light of a weekend’s worth of media coverage, both nationwide and locally in effected areas, that some say overhyped the story.
Howard Kurtz leads the way this morning in his Daily Beast column:
“Someone has to say it: cable news was utterly swept away by the notion that Irene would turn out to be Armageddon. National news organizations morphed into local eyewitness-news operations, going wall to wall for days with dire warnings about what would turn out to be a Category 1 hurricane, the lowest possible ranking. “Cable news is scaring the crap out of me, and I WORK in cable news,” Bloomberg correspondent Lizzie O’Leary tweeted.
“I say this with all due respect to the millions who were left without power, to those communities facing flooding problems, and of course to the families of the 11 people (at last count) who lost their lives in storm-related accidents.
“And I take nothing away from the journalists who worked around the clock, many braving the elements, to cover a hurricane that was sweeping its way from North Carolina to New England.
“But the tsunami of hype on this story was relentless, a Category 5 performance that was driven in large measure by ratings. Every producer knew that to abandon the coverage even briefly—say, to cover the continued fighting in Libya—was to risk driving viewers elsewhere. Websites, too, were running dramatic headlines even as it became apparent that the storm wasn’t as powerful as advertised.”
My dear friends, just admit it and make peace with your admission: THE PLANET was right on this issue. We are so secure with this fact, that we shant demand an apology from all the posters who lost their minds and their cool. You will see in a moment: We love you all.
WITH ANOTHER TEMPEST SURELY BREWING SOMEWHERE, WE SAY,
“OPEN THE WINDOW AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.