Snowpocalypse now! A storm of media hype, that is

The storm system gripping the Northeast has been unprecedented -- in hyperbole

Topics: Media Criticism, Snow Storms,

Snowpocalypse now! A storm of media hype, that is

Batten down the hatches! Load up on canned goods and weaponry! Call your high school flame and tell him you never stopped loving him! Because the storm system that has gripped a goodly portion of the nation this week has been unprecedented — IN HYPERBOLE.

That’s right. It’s February. And here in the northern, western hemisphere, we are having …  weather. We’re not saying you might wind up eating your kin, but  why take chances? My New York area is expected to get a not too shabby 10 to 15 inches today. And then the snow WILL RIP OUT YOUR CHILDREN’S BRAINS.

Seriously. Look at this guy.

 

Has something so cold ever inspired a response so overheated?

The news-grabby allure of atmospheric conditions, like fires and traffic tie-ups, is nothing new. But as reliably as the media is dying, the need to use whatever tools are at our disposal to get your attention is increasing. Gone are the days of simple storms and blizzards. Oh no, look outside. It’s a Michael Bay movie out there, people. Don’t believe it? Believe the headlines, then.

After last week’s admittedly historic pummeling, ABC News noted Obama bravely trying to govern amid what the commander in chief himself dubbed a “Snowmageddon.”  The Star Tribune, observing that we are this week in the throes of the second massive storm of the winter, has already dubbed the deluge “Snowmageddon, the Sequel,” while the Associated Press is calling it “Snowmageddon II”  Electric Boogaloo!



And competing for end-of-the-world metaphor dominance this winter, there’s another contender: the “snowpocalypse.” Though the term has, as Sarah Wheaton pointed out in the New York Times recently, been floating around like a fluffy white crystallized flake for a few years now, the harsh conditions of this winter have created a perfect storm of colorful language and panic. It’s a snowtastrophe! A snowlamity! Snowvastation! Snowgency! Snowmination! Snownami! SnOMG I’m having a snogasm! Snotorious BIG!

Now, snowdämmerung, I’m a let you finish. But 1978 had one of the best blizzards of all time. Of all time! That February deluge, which dumped over 27 inches on the Northeast, knocked out power for days in certain environs and caused approximately $520 million in damage. Or check out the winter storm of 1996, which dumped 4 feet of snow in some places, killed 154 people and caused a billion dollars in damages. 

And still, the planet will not SPIN INTO THE SUN.

This winter’s weather is extreme, expensive and inconvenient, to be sure. And all this snow hype isn’t merely the product of a few overexcited goofs at the Weather Channel. The entertaining if eager terminology this year is more than anything the product of clever social networking, where a funny phrase can go viral faster than my building super can dig out our front walkway.

But amid the bons mots and the childlike thrill of an excuse to be whisked on a magic white carpet from the dull routines of the day to day, there also is indisputably an annoying to possibly dangerous encouragement of WHY ARE YOU NOT FREAKING OUT YET? Is there a difference between preparation and panic? When supermarkets are picked clean and newscasters warn that a “LOOMING STORM LIKELY TO BURY” us, I say maybe we’ve gone the latter route.

Yeah, it’s bad. But I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this — you’re probably going to have to nut up and go to work tomorrow. It’s snow, not locusts and frogs. Or as our own Canadian native Thomas Rogers said via e-mail this morning, “Back home, we have a name for this kind of weather. It’s called Wednesday.” Perhaps predictably, the most accurate response to the whole powdery hype machine this winter has come from an outside source. Writing yesterday in the UK Guardian, Richard Adams summed it all up in one easily tweetable phrase. Snoverkill. 

Mary Elizabeth Williams

Mary Elizabeth Williams is a staff writer for Salon and the author of "Gimme Shelter: My Three Years Searching for the American Dream." Follow her on Twitter: @embeedub.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>