One's web favorites are the National Hurricane Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other cat-related sites.
Like the insurance and reinsurance companies, one keeps lists and tables of deaths, injuries and values destroyed. One would, wouldn't one?
My father, in his middle years, was a jeweler, and he was always amused when a movie or a TV show had a diamond dealer in it. The TV jeweler would carry his diamonds in a little leather purse, which spoiled my Dad's ability to suspend his disbelief, since diamonds are carried individually, in papers specially made for the purpose.
In a similar vein, when hurricanes threaten and the general public has a chance to weigh in, the public, as you know, is not overendowed with grey matter. In Albert Einstein's words, "the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." When Irene was barreling up the Eastern Seaboard last year, The Daily Telegraph, an English newspaper, carried live coverage on its website, minute-by-minute reports on the death, destruction and dismay a big storm can cause. Below the developing story were comments made by readers. One or two were of the-storm's-really-hitting-us-now variety, but most were reports from the much more dangerous land of the truly deranged.
For instance, this from someone called wellietoyouandwereproud: "The mainstream media hyping the weather for political purposes, whoever would have guessed?" Not me; Irene packed winds of 115 mph and almost 50 people died.
kgeorgeIV wrote: "We are facing divine wrath for the destruction in Libya. Your turn will come soon."
brendanbuffini: "Trust theYanks tomake aHollywood epic out of a slight Breeze and a drop of Rain."
RentonNicholson: "If you have a Category 1 hurricane bearing down on you, you can relax, open another beer and watch TV.You're not going to be hurt."And yards more like it, of what might be termed inexpert opinion. The new technology -- the web, cell phones, iPods and iPads and all the other detritus -- merely allow the ignorant to contribute their share of the planet's forward motion, i.e. nil.
The whole thing is an idiot's charter. People who can't even spell CBS spend their lives posting to no one in particular about what's wrong with it. Just how lowbrow are we talking? Consider Godwin's Law: As an online discussion grows, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
I know nothing of brain surgery, which is why you'll never find me talking about it. But people who think a cat bond is a leash for a kitty have no qualms about discoursing on insurance all day long. Even the rolling news channels have a person whose job it is to report on blogs. Blogging, as someone once said, is graffiti with punctuation. (Yes, I blog.)
Not wanting to sound overly like one of these maniacal nutters, I shall quote in this regard Thumper, Bambi's friend: If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all. Er, the end.
ROGER CROMBIE is a London-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
May 1, 2012
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