These are interesting times we are living in; I realized that this weekend when my internal dialogue started to sound more like my dad than that of someone my age. In case you have been hiding under a rock or your power has been off (if your power is still off don’t waste precious battery power reading me on a mobile device) due to Irene, you know the storm of the century turned out not to be quite the storm that it was predicted to be though in the end she did wallop areas such as Vermont while leaving metro New York City relatively unharmed.
Prior to Irene’s arrival, New York City took unprecedented measures such as evacuating folks and actually shutting down its extensive public transit system. Which when you consider New York is the largest city in the United States and one of the largest in the world, such unprecedented actions obviously get a great deal of media attention. So when the storm passed through New York leaving the metro area relatively unharmed granted other parts of the state were hit hard along with many parts of New England, the mood took an interesting turn where people seemed almost pissed that Irene did not play out like Katrina did years ago in New Orleans. To look at my twitter feed many in New York seemed almost upset that their weekend plans had been changed and immediately blame was placed on the media for hyping the storm.
I don’t know but it seems that when you are predicting weather, it’s just that… a prediction and sometimes predictions are not accurate. There is also the reality that if things are not hyped often times we don’t heed the details. Yet we live in a fast paced world where we seem to be growing increasingly impatient and in some cases we are downright desensitized to the suffering of others and frankly that scares me. Living in Northern New England which Vermont is part of us and considering Vermont is not on the ocean, I have to say that the level of devastation my tiny neighbor is facing is devastating yet in the 24 hour news cycle’s people have moved on from Irene. If a crisis does not affect a large number of people or is not sexy it’s almost as if it’s not considered newsworthy….
In other things I learned this weekend is that many of us are entirely too invested in the lives of people we don’t know. Last night I decided to catch a little of the MTV Video Music Awards where pop star and singer Beyonce announced via a lovely baby bump that she and her husband of three years rap legend Jay-Z are expecting their first baby. Babies are good and when supposedly happily married people have them, even my grumpy old ass can crack a smile.
Yet judging from my various social media feeds some folks took the announcement as if they are going to be intimately a part of the baby’s life, some even waxing poetically about how Beyoncé and Jay-Z set a lovely image for Black love. I think it’s dangerous when we look up to celebrities as examples for living and loving when in fact they are people who sleep, shit and pay taxes like everyone else.
After all it was only last week when it was announced but then quickly denied that Will Smith and his wife Jada are separating after 13 years of marriage. Before the Smith’s denied the statement there was a collective wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I wonder why do we look at celebrities to be our role models…why aren’t we are own role models?
As a mother I have written about battling the princess machine yet when I see grown women looking at people they don’t know as role models, I think while it’s easy to lay blame at the media for such things the truth is many a grown woman is walking around waiting for Prince or Princess Charming. When the Prince or Princess does not save us, well we live vicariously through others in many cases not even being consciously aware of it. Look, I don’t hate celebrities, there are quite a few I would love to sit down and share a drink with or even have over to my house but I have no vested interest in celebrities as a whole.
Lastly I learned we have a whole new generation of stars coming up with names like Pitbull and Tyler the Creator…I must admit sometimes I think permanently unplugging from the grid is a good thing.
Note: This post is not in any way meant to bash New Yorkers, a recent exchange leads me to believe this post may sound like I am bashing New Yorkers and that is not my intention. I like New Yorkers 🙂
2 thoughts on “What I learned this weekend”
I’m a New Yorker . . . I didn’t read anything that felt like a swipe. I think this is a great post, though, Shay. Even though Irene didn’t turn out to be quite as powerful as we thought, it gave me an opportunity to get my emergency supplies together and see what I need to do in case of a real emergency (e.g. I’d rather rely on candles than hand crank/battery operated lanterns so I need to stock up on candles). But it was kind of strange . . .it almost seemed in a sense that people were looking forward to a catastrophe. Like some kind of entertainment event they paid good money for. And when it didn’t pan out, they wanted their money back. It felt odd and really disturbing. It is just a weather forecast–not the law. And no one ever ever said, “Dang it, I wish I had been less prepared!”
On the flipside, had the city not taken precautions despite the warnings and Irene had delivered a direct hit, we would’ve been hearing about how unprepared the city had been. Can’t have it both ways, folks.
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