Wednesday 19 December 2018

The Russians hack the weather

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Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Thank God for the so-called Beast from the East, which brings together two of our favourite things - obsessing about the weather, and blaming something else for all our problems.

We've always loved talking about the weather, but it's got even better since the whole weather warning thing came in, coupled with the fact that weather is now another media event to feed into our constant need for things to have opinions on.

Which meteorologist will become a star with this bout of bad weather? What clip will go viral? Who will do the best TV report fighting against rain or snow? Which member of the public will do the most lunatic thing in the weather, so that we can all watch the grainy footage of them doing it 10 times before tut-tutting that it's highly irresponsible?

And then there's the ins and outs of the weather warnings themselves.

What's the difference between yellow and orange? Did they go too early with the warning or too late? The current warning is actually in place until next month, technically speaking, so we'll have plenty of time to talk it to death. And the great unspoken is that people in Dublin will quietly sit back and relax, secure in the knowledge that they will get none of this crazy weather. They might be saying the Beast from the East is going to hit Dublin, but Dublin people will believe that when they see it. Experience has taught them that no matter what they are told, Dublin generally enjoys a microclimate, fuelled perhaps by hot air and smugness.

They actually think they are immune to the weather, just like they thought their property prices were immune to gravity.

We also like that this bout of bad weather has been personified as a Beast from the East, a Siberian bogeyman. We are basically seeing it as Vladimir Putin coming to get us - the Russians hacking our weather.

And we needed a bad guy to blame right now. The vulture funds had been our bad guys du jour. Then the banks seemed like bad guys, too, but then the banks were only doing what they were told to do by the EU, which made the EU the bad guys. And Fianna Fail, who were the bad guys in this respect until recently, were suddenly looking like the good guys standing up for distressed mortgage holders. But the more we thought about it, we were a bit ambivalent about people who haven't paid their mortgage in seven years as well.

But then we got some comfort from the report which said Brexit was going to damage us more than it would the Brits. Proof, if we needed it, that we are the victims of everything, that it's all out of our control and there's nothing we can do about it, so let's just watch the weather on TV.

Sunday Independent

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