Hurricane Sandy has officially made landfall on America’s East coast for the second time in as many months. Here’s what some of the lesser outlets are saying about her comeback. —B. Keyes, I. Woolley
It’s welcome news in the fight against those who doubt we’ve entered an Age of Superstorms. They won’t be quite so vocal today, as Sandy—the counterclockwise femme fatale that has terrorized the Atlantic since 2012—strikes the Eastern seaboard for the fourth time this year.
A fortnight ago, Americans were celebrating the end of a triple-Sandy ‘hurricane season from hell.’ Now a nation is wishing it hadn’t uncorked the sparkling wine so soon.
Sandy debuted in October, 2012, but only attacked once that season. For reasons still being clarified by climate-change scientists—but thought to be related to climate change—she subsequently made more incursions into human territory every year.
The serial-killing superstorm was sighted off the coast of New Jersey just before dawn yesterday.
Within minutes government scientists had identified it as the same 1,800-km female last seen a month ago, allaying short-lived fears that there might be two different hurricanes in the area.
Singer Charlotte Church has apologized for the “hurtful timing” of a Tweet in which she suggested we “start asking why hurricanes hate America.” Calling herself a massive bimbo, the 29-year-old today claimed to have misunderstood news reports, believing Sandy had just departed, and not arrived at, continental United States.
Ms Church promised fans of the offending Tweet that she would re-post it “as soon as the proverbial storm has passed.”
But for the 3 million people within Sandy’s known hunting-grounds there’s nothing proverbial about her.
If past rampages are any guide, entire tracts of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey are about to become uninsurable. Residents of America’s ruined zipcodes—serial rebuilders and first-time victims alike—might be forgiven for Unfollowing a certain chesty chanteuse.
Just as soon as the power comes back on.
Is the atmosphere’s latest attack on North America yet another vindication of Al Gore’s prophecy, in An Inconvenient Truth, that a ‘ne0-normalization of the abnormal’ was upon us?
For his part, Mr Gore has been holding his tongue since the barometric behemoth returned yesterday in search of human victims.
“Vice President [sic] Gore has never used corpses as political footballs,” said a spokesman for the billionaire today, “until they’re cold.”
But according to one US tabloid, neighbors of the climate entrepreneur are complaining of “loud gloating noises [coming] from the [Gore] compound.” These take the form of an unearthly crowing that begins long after honest men and women have gone to bed, if The Inquirer is to be believed.
Locals, by now inured to the sight of Sandy, were waiting at Brigantine yesterday to welcome her ashore with home-made placards, T-shirts and faux-indigenous blessing dances. The cyclonic phenom’s celebrity status was undeniable, and—as the beneficiary of separate gushings from Ellen and The View—all but inevitable.
Culture theorists are already parsing the spectacle on the New Jersey shore as a sort of ultimate, if ultimately bathetic, extension of feminism.
And why not? In a TV season bereft of strong woman characters, why shouldn’t a real-life vortex of windy death get the part? Anything men can do we can do better, goes this reading of Sandy’s high concept—up to and including the drowning of a few hundred Caribbeans in their sleep.
This paper has no intention of wading into waters that have already been whipped to a pink foam by braver opinion-holders.
Nevertheless, we can’t help wondering if Gov. Christie (NJ) wasn’t the designated voice of sanity at today’s emergency presser, where he admonished the extreme weather event’s groupies that—quote—this is no fairground attraction, folks. This is a wild animal. It will kill you without a second thought, unquote.
If the speech erred on the side of being condescending, well, perhaps it needed to: some people err on the side of being an idiot.
Was one Lady’s look of indomitability the seed of a cyclonic grudge against America?
According to a growing number of scientists, large predators like Sandy may be capable of reading the facial cues of assertiveness—cues like the flared nostrils, Bernini lips and unapologetic glare of Lady Liberty—for what they are: a challenge demanding violent satisfaction.
This, at least, is the theory behind the $1.2bn ‘facelift’ designed to dial down the statuesque firebrand’s suffragette ‘tude a notch or two. If the ethological hunch pays off, it will be a small price to pay for peace of mind on our Eastern seaboard.
But in what increasingly looks like a case of logistical incompetence, the familiar visage was surgically flayed before its replacement had arrived Stateside. Irony then intervened in the form of Sandy herself, whose rampage has kept the new, less in-your-face face grounded in France.
Political heads are sure to roll over the myopia that’s disfigured the very face of a nation for 48 hours—and counting.
Naked to the elements, the great bronze teeth, maxillofacial bones, sinews and optic stalks of Lady Liberty are reported to be traumatizing Ellis Islanders and driving property values down as far as the dangling eyeball can see. The consensus on the mutilated icon is that she is less courageous, acid-victim chic than haunt-your-dreams, chimp-attack gross. One late-night wit even wondered if an HBO publicity stunt for House Bolton had gone sickeningly wrong.
Sandy last made landfall in November, but the ensuing rampage was diverted by a blocking system. Scientists now suspect she was forced to return to the Atlantic without getting her fill of death.
National sighs of relief were misplaced, felt Harvard geologist Daniel P. Schrag deep in his bones, who tried to warn that Sandy would soon be back—correctly.
In a perverse tragedy, Schrag himself is listed among the missing in the wake of this morning’s floods.
Historically, Americans have never begrudged emergency spending or the need for bodies like FEMA, but many are now questioning whether “serial rebuilders” deserve the aid intended for victims of truly unforeseeable disasters.
Scientist Jonathan Overpeck came under fire last month for mocking what he called “the stupidity of anyone [who] fails to take the hint” the first time Sandy destroys their house.
One woman we spoke to, in a dilapidated suburb on the outskirts of Atlantic City, N.J., is under no illusion about what it means to live in Sandy’s favorite stalking grounds. All the same, Glenda Petrovskaya plans to stay in the home she’s owned for three quarters of a century.
In the past three years all of her neighbors have either moved out of the area or fallen prey to the hurricane. But if Mrs Petrovskaya, 88, is scared, she’s not showing it.
“I can still picture the superstorm that took my momma to her reward. I was 6 years old. Today’s hurricanes think they’re all that and change, but Sandy doesn’t impress me,” says the 70-lb grandma, pump-loading the shotgun she’s been nursing for emphasis. The weapon is as tall as her.
“Bitch wants me, she knows the address.”