Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Scare Tactics

I just heard a media announcement that had me laughing my ass off.  (And since my IVF break is now extended until April—obviously a topic for another post—I have nothing IFey to write about.)

The media, the Federal government, and the District of Columbia are all involved in a calculated effort to convince everyone that, if they even think about attending the inauguration, they will die.*  Not that they’ve been so obvious about it (yet), but every day the Washington Post has a new article about why no one in the DC area should even set foot outside the house on I-Day, let alone try to come downtown.

So today, I was not surprised to hear the most recent public service announcement (on both NPR and music radio).  This one warned that people should seriously think about whether they are healthy enough to handle the physical rigors of attending inauguration.  It said that “those who attend should be prepared to walk as much as two miles and below-zero temperatures.”

Below zero temperatures?  Really?  I’m not saying DC has never seen below-zero temperatures in the middle of the day, but it would be serious news around here.   And, you know, they do have this amazing ability to predict the weather nowadays––at least with some accuracy––even more than a week in advance.   (It’s going to be in the mid-30s and partly sunny, BTW.)

I loved the transparency of this.  I don't know why, but it tickles me.  I like the idea of some advance team sitting in a conference room trying to figure out what to put in the next press release.  What would be the most believable, but still effectively subdue those DC natives and pushy MD and VA types from coming?  Terrorist attack?  Sorry, that tune's been played.  Epidemic?  Mmm, it might cause a wave of hypochondria in the emergency rooms.  Snowstorm?  Definitely not--local networks start freaking out if there's even a hint of snow.  No one would ever believe it.

But the threat of sub-zero temperatures?  It's brilliant.  So simple.  So pure.  And it has been really cold the last couple of days.

And yeah, it will scare the locals.

(By the way, while I was writing this, Fox came on with its nightly news teaser.  Guess what?  No one will be able to get into the District on the Metro on Inauguration Day!  Not a single person!  Shocking.)

* Honestly, I think these scare tactics are probably a good idea.


kate said...

Dude. That is SO FUNNY! I've been really curious as to how the natives would handle the circus of the inauguration this year. And of course, that lead me to thinking about how this year would be so unlike any year prior.

H accidentally called the inauguration a "coronation" and defended his choice, saying that in Germany, there is never this much hoopla. And that, of course, led to me realizing that in America there is never this much hoopla, either. What a weird thing this will be. I will be curious to watch it unfold...

Nikki said...

I hear something about there being only 600 hotel rooms available across all of DC yesterday. And how the "experts" are wondering if the 5000 (or whatever the number was) port-a-potties are going to be enough! Umm - you have port-a-potty experts??

It's definitely going to be interesting next week huh?

Shinejil said...

Who in DC would be scared by a little cold? You guys are tough.

I'm looking forward to watching from the distant flyover zone on a university tv with a bunch of other raving elitist overeducated liberals.

Malloryn said...

I'd probably like to see the inauguration myself, were it not for all the people. Being in such a large crowd would make me nervous! Instead I'll be catching it on TV, plus the highlights on the Daily Show. Go go elitist liberal media! ;)

annacyclopedia said...

Too funny. You're right, it really is brilliant - vague, menacing, yet totally unproveable and easy to back down from if it doesn't turn out to be true.

I'll be watching from the frozen north with great interest.

Barb said...

That is amusing. ;-)

Darya said...

Hilarious! I'm usually annoyed by scare tactics, but this one is ridiculously funny: 'physical rigors', 'below zero temperatures', 'no public transportation'....LOL

I agree that in this case, it's probably a good idea.