Americans might not be aware of this, but Canadians are weather fiends
. We obsess about weather. There was an article in the Citizen long ago describing this obsession in hilarious detail. There were the car journeys through town in the winter, where every lighted information board providing the time and the temperature was discussed, and explanations sought for the discrepancies between them. "Well, THAT board is right over top the jewellery store sign, so those extra lightbulbs probably provide some heat, which is why it says -18 instead of -20." Naturally, only the COLDEST temperature can be the correct one.
We also like to boast about our weather to foreigners, especially Americans. When we recite our daily low temperatures ("It was minus 30
this morning when we got up! What do you think of that?") nothing makes us happier than when the American (hopefully from California) shakes his head and says, "I don't know how you can live there!"
So it should be no surprise that The Weather Network is popular. We first got into it when Emma was a baby. It was soothing, quiet, and repetitious; since we were exhausted and always being interrupted, this was a godsend. I knew that no matter how often I was distracted and interrupted, I could wander back and the Weather Network would still be there, still the same. I hadn't missed anything. Only baseball came close to that soothing, slow-paced security.
After a few years with the Weather Network almost continuously on, we noticed other benefits. It's odd, but autistic children quite like the Weather Network. My kids loved the blue pages with white lettering - they're still very fond of watching the credits for any movie. Just something about it appeals to them. Also, I think the calm music and the repetition appeals to them; no confusing emotions or facial expressions to have to read. The Weather Network has been our "default" TV channel for almost 17 years, so I think I'm qualified to notice when it changed its focus. It's not the same anymore.
For one thing, it's turned into a full-time global warming NAG. Almost every feature now bores on about environmentalism and global warming, and it's always with an alarmist message that the world is falling apart. It's starting to sound like the 'Beyond the Fringe' sketch about BBC reporting during WWII - "This is Alvar Lidell, bringing you news of fresh disasters." We have David Suzuki commercials (I still have only seen the beer one) and now even the Premier is popping up on the channel!
I don't want to see the Premier on the Weather Network. He belongs on the news, and I don't particularly want to see much of him there, either.
The Weather Network has decided to become up-to-date and cutting edge, and they've forgotten the fact that weather is not hip. It's weather
, for crying out loud. It's supposed
to be dull. When we want to avoid controversy, we talk about the weather. There's enough anxiety to be found watching big red blotches creeping across the country on radar screens, and seeing footage of the Mississippi flooding yet again. We don't need to be scared by imagined horrors that MIGHT happen some day. It's like reading a gardening book and finding the subject keeps getting onto plate tectonics. It's just not what we need to know.
It can have its comical aspects, though. Yesterday, I was watching The Weather Network, and the two bright and bubbly anchor ladies were talking about upcoming weekend weather in Ontario. One of them remarked "And Sunday they're having the Gay Pride parade in Toronto, and the weather should be just beautiful!" (I'm probably imagining that her voice was ever so slightly too smooth, as if she KNEW that this was kind of an unusual subject to bring up in a weather broadcast, but she was too cool to be concerned about it herself. But it did just seem like it.) The other lady bubbled even more enthusiastically, "Oh, yes! And that front that moved in today really reduced the humidity, which is great, 'cause you don't want it all hot and sticky... (suddenly looking self-conscious)... But we'll go into that later."