I just spent a while reading about how outraged
people a particular author on Gizmodo are is about the recent snows shutting down Birmingham. Here's my take. Warning: Rant Ahead.
1.) Dear Mr. Gizmodo author, no, you're the asshole. I didn't call you an asshole first, hell, I didn't even care that the South was having issues with the snow. I was too busy, like a sizable amount of the population, dealing with the snow myself.
2.) The "We don't know how to drive in snow" argument is bullshit. Do you drive in the rain? Do roads ever get slick? You either know how to drive or you do not. Next.
3.) Wasn't there a saying about those in glass houses and getting stoned?
When it snows where you live, the salt and the snowplows are out on the streets before you even wake up. When you talk about six inches of snow in your city, you are almost definitely talking about six inches of snow on the median strip and shoulder, and highways that are slick, but clear. I'd take that over two inches of snow and ice on every major road any day.
No, the plows don't even START to plow until after the storm has hit. Period. Most times they wait until after the bulk of it has passed. It's just logical to wait until there's not going to be any more snow coming down before plowing a dense urban/suburban landscape. If there's still snow coming, any efforts made could be for naught. Salting doesn't happen until the plowing has finished. Clearly the author of the article didn't REALLY have to drive when he lived in Manhattan and it was snowing.
4.) I'm done numbering, I'm just going to go paragraph by paragraph.
When it snows where you live, it is the latest in a string of snowfalls that date back centuries. You own a car with four-wheel-drive for that very purpose. You may even own snow tires. This is great! You are prepared. But waking up in Birmingham to snow is like waking up in New Hampshire to quicksand.
Wrong again, asshole (Can I call you that? You called me that, so I'll take that as a yes.). I do not own a car with AWD or 4WD, and even if I did, the ability to spin all four tires instead of just the two in front or back isn't going to help me STOP or STEER. You're a misguided soul.
Edit: Also, I wanted to elaborate that most people here don't have snow and summer tires, unless they can afford it. We run all-seasons just as they run all-seasons all-over.
When it snows where you live, you're able to pick up your kids and get home and sit by the fireplace (you have firewood and a fireplace, because it is cold often). As of two hours ago, 4,000 children were still stuck in public schools—where they spent the night—because their parents had no way to reach them.
Here's a little bit about me: I live in the South-West suburbs of Chicago. Actually it's far enough south that I live in the middle of miles of cornfields. Last time it snowed, I COULDN'T GET HOME EITHER. You're not the only people suffering.
Since, like I previously mentioned, my car is NOT 4WD or AWD, I end up getting stuck more often than my 4WD/AWD counterparts. It's a fact I've learned to accept. Since I live in the middle of nowhere and winds were causing snow drifts, my driveway was un-plowable. Well, technically you could plow it, but by the time you got to the end, you'd have to shovel yourself back into the house. Except you're not using a shovel, you're using a frontloader. And it's STILL filling in as quick as you can plow it away.
What's the point of this paragraph? People DO end up stranded up here in "the North," but we just don't bitch about it.
When it snows where you live, people may die. That happened to five people here, at last count. Those deaths aren't funny or quirky just because it happened below the Mason-Dixon.
No, it's not funny. If someone thinks it's funny, they really are an asshole, but not for the reasons you've stated.
Since I started off this rant with numbering, I managed to skip the part that you put in the beginning of the "Why You're an Asshole" section:
I want to be clear right off that not everyone is being an asshole about this. Plenty of people are genuinely confused about how something like this could have happened, and it's a valid thing to be confused about. I lived in Manhattan for seven years before I moved here. I would have been confused too.
Who's really being an asshole about this? What's the point of your article? Is it just to incite rage in the minds of others that you've inevitably pissed off through your wording? Perhaps you'd like to make a splash and get a huge response? That's why you're an asshole.
Anyone who's making a big deal about how "oh my God, the South is closed because of two inches of snow" isn't even in the snow to begin with. That's right. The people who are criticizing the decisions that the people in power made are the people who aren't smart enough to read your article in the first place. I can tell you for a FACT that we're not going out and attacking Southerners for being up in arms. We're put in just the same situation here in the Midwest. We had -30*F windchills as well as several inches of snow.
I can personally tell you that the roads aren't all nice and pretty before it even happens (though, through this second cold snap, I was surprised that the roads were only bad for one day).
Most of all you've got to remember that yes, we do get snow. Yes, we do get cold. Yes, we're used to it, but we're not used to the -30*F winds, just as you're not used to a couple inches of snow. This was something that swept across the nation. The South wasn't the only place hit. EVERYONE had issues.
All that being said, Mr. Brian Barrett, I'd like to to please apologize for calling us "Northerners" assholes. We're not the assholes, YOU ARE. You're using scandalous, accusatory statements in wake of an emergency to promote your journalism. You're the dickhead who posts pictures of a tragedy after somebody dies. You're a part of the stereotypical American media that is based on provoking people to increase publicity.
If you're going to go ahead and make blanket statements about a large portion of the country, make sure you've got EVERY SINGLE WORD you've written correct. I'm not calling the South pussies for how they dealt with the snow. I'm calling you a pussy for calling us assholes. So let's take a look at one last quote:
I work from home; I got off easy. The worst that's happened to me in this storm is that my pipes temporarily froze (again), and that I don't have my usual childcare options today. But I have many friends who spent the night at their offices last night, who had to abandon their cars and walk four miles in 12 degree weather to get home to their families.
Oh, boo-hoo. Unless you were IN the snow, do us all a favor and shut the hell up.