As Real As It Gets! On Hurricane Coverage and Other Disasters

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I keep hearing weather forecasters, newspeople, and public officials warn residents in the path of Hurricane Irma with words like, “This is as real as it gets!” “This is the real deal, people!”

And the thing is…why would we think it’s anything BUT real?

Is it our saturation with visual storytelling? How video is king? How we take the use of CGI and Photoshop for granted? The (necessary) cynicism we’ve developed to deal with an advertising-soaked society?

Do we REALLY doubt what is in front of our face?

Perhaps the saturation of the use of scientific research has diminished its psychic weight.

Instead of shifting with each new discovery, we seek stability and simplicity.

THUS, we doubt even information from real, actual, solid measuring….Science.

And because we doubt science, seeing a graphic of a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on our town, house, or state has less impact.

We’re so used to watching disaster TV programs and movies that the REAL DEAL is just so many pixels.

How do we fix this? It sounds so simple and, I admit, almost trite to say, but we mustmustmust step away from the screen, right?…ALL of them. I love hearing and telling stories with the medium of the moving picture. But I also acknowledge the absolute necessity of spending more time away from it; time spent looking at the trees and sky, at the alleys in my neighborhood, the ants trekking through the grass of the park down the street.

I would imagine dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane, of any disaster, will involve helping people work through that it really did happen to them, that it was Real.

Because it did happen. It really did.

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