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every time you curse the blackout, an angel loses its shoes

Faith rips David Appell a new one, and rightfully so.

David writes about The Blackout (you know that get's capitalized now, right?) and starts off by saying:

OK, the blackout is over. So what, really, was all the fuss about? A few NYers couldn't make it home Thursday night and had to sleep on the steps of the Post Office. This is a good thing--losing one's bed makes one appreciate it all the more when you do eventually land in it.

You can just hear the cliches rumbling out of that sentence. There are people starving in Africa. There are poor people in Ethiopa. Eat your vegetables. Appreciate that meager allowance you get, kid.

When I wrote about my experience with The Blackout, it was my experience, nobody's else's. I was lucky to be at safe at home, with my friends and family and a pizza delivery guy willing to brave the broken traffic lights so I could eat. Poolside, no less.

Yet I knew that other people were not having the same experience as me. People stuck in subways and elevators, hospitals whose backup power did not come on right away, elderly and sick people stuck in the heat and humidity without much needed air conditioning, the hundreds of people involved in traffic accidents due to the lights being down, just to name a few. People did die. I guess Appell just chose not to track those stories down before he went on his "America is spoiled" tirade:

We're a deeply spoiled country. We think hardship is 24 hours without electricity, with little idea what real pain and suffering might entail, or how much of the rest of the world lives. (Do you realize that one billion people live with no shoes?)

Why oh why must people always invoke the "there are those less fortunate than you, damn it!" when something like this strikes? Just because we complain about our 24 hour loss of electricity does not mean we are not attuned to our fellow planet inhabiters. I don't recall anyone on the news using the words "pain and suffering." though I'm sure the little girl stuck in the elevator for three hours might have been thinking along those lines. And I'm quite sure that the businesses that lost a large amount of money in those blackened hours certainly are suffering.

Here's the kicker - David was not even in a place where a blackout occurred. No, he was in another state that was still flush with the glow of lights and air conditioning and working traffic lights. But that didn't stop him from taking the time to point his finger and say "shame on you" to New Yorkers inparticular.

The man is a professional scientific writer who still believes in the fairy tale of global warming, so maybe we should cut him a little slack.

Besides, if you want to talk pain and suffering, I know someone who was stuck in a room with Hillary Clinton when the lights went out.


I just wanna know...did you give the pizza guy a better tip?

Of course. And he was cute, too.

I would tend to consider us a spoiled country, but with the qualifier that by and large we deserve what we have. Having travelled abroad, I know of no other country's citizens with the work ethic, drive, or determination that Americans have.

Warning: Crass comment ahead:

someone who was stuck in a room with Hillary Clinton when the lights went out

That wouldn't be so bad. . . with the lights out, you wouldn't be able to see her. Better than having a bag over her head (and one over yours in case her bag comes off).

If you're sick and tired of people who invoke the whole "there are people worse off than you, damn it!" meme, then you'll find Jason Roth's On Triple Splitz-O Cups and Starving Children quite refreshing.

One great sentence from the essay sums it all beautifully: "With everyone talking about how they care so much about human life, I'd just like to see someone actually living one."

I also hate it when people get into suffering one-upsmanship contests. It's just bad form to tell someone who's having a rough time of it that their problems are meaningless because there are starving children in Africa. It's true that there's no equivalence in the degree of suffering, but telling someone that they have no right to feel bad about having a rough day is likely to get you poked in the eye with a spork.

On the other hand, I don't think global warming is just a flight of liberal fancy. Neither do the plagues of grasshoppers that have stripped every single green thing bare at my parents' farm the past two years...

We're a deeply spoiled country.

Yes, and the fact that we're producing soulless fuckwit finger-pointers like him is good evidence for it.

The reason the blackout (properly) a big story is not just the considerable pain and suffering it caused (note how many liberals are strangely indifferent to real-life human suffering unless it occurs under certain specified conditions). It's a big story because it is an indicator of things that could happen. For example..suppose it had lasted a couple more days, or even longer (much longer, if the protective equipment had failed and we had lost generators and transformers). What would have happened to the water pumping system?What would have happened to patients when the hospital diesel generators ran out of fuel? How about the phone system...how long are their fuel reserves good for? One would think a science writer would be interested in investigating such matters...

No, no, no, not "The Blackout" -- "the blackout" is a second reference, shorthand for the Blackout of 2003, a formal title (or at least, that seems to be the title it has been given).

The other aspect of "Americans are spoiled" is when people get on their whole "a few generations ago, Americans lived without many of these things." But, you know, that means they were a bit more prepared for it. They had outhouses. I could live with that, but, since I have flush toilets 99% of the time, we don't have even that. We don't have iceboxes. To compare the two states is rather silly.

You can always find something worse, and sometimes it's healthy to remind yourself that things aren't that bad. But when you start reminding other people, then it's just annoying.

One more thing: yeah, we do deserve everything we've got. Because, in the end, there's nothing the Europeans value more than their breaks and their days off. So that's what they get.