keeping abreast of haboobs

Oh no. Really? Seems the peanut gallery in Arizona has made it all the way to the NY Times with their misguided opinions.

PHOENIX — The massive dust storms that swept through central Arizona this month have stirred up not just clouds of sand but a debate over what to call them […]

“I am insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a haboob,” Don Yonts, a resident of Gilbert, Ariz., wrote to The Arizona Republic after a particularly fierce, mile-high dust storm swept through the state on July 5. “How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?”

I appreciate any effort to make life more comfortable for any member of the military, but this is a slippery slope. Just wait, it gets even closer to crazy town:

Diane Robinson of Wickenburg, Ariz., agreed, saying the state’s dust storms are unique and ought to be labeled as such.

“Excuse me, Mr. Weatherman!” she said in a letter to the editor. “Who gave you the right to use the word ‘haboob’ in describing our recent dust storm? While you may think there are similarities, don’t forget that in these parts our dust is mixed with the whoop of the Indian’s dance, the progression of the cattle herd and warning of the rattlesnake as it lifts its head to strike.”

So we’re not using a middle eastern term to avoid offending those who’ve served in Afghanistan and Iraq, but we’re ok referring to Native Americans as Indians? This country is a giant melting pot and always has been. The sooner we learn to live with each others’ cultural differences, the better a chance we have to not destroy ourselves.

But fortunately, the voice of reason prevails:

Not everyone was put out by the use of the term. David Wilson of Goodyear, Ariz., said those who wanted to avoid Arabic terms should steer clear of algebra, zero, pajamas and khaki, as well. “Let’s not become so ‘xenophobic’ that we forget to remember that we are citizens of the world, nor fail to recognize the contributions of all cultures to the richness of our language,” he wrote.

Thank you David Wilson of Goodyear, my guess is you would do quite well on Jeopardy. And to all our news media covering desert weather, you have every right to get excited about a haboob. It’s fun to say and one of the few things you’ll ever get to cover outside of sunshine.

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3 thoughts on “keeping abreast of haboobs

  1. Perhaps we should also stop using numbers… if I recall, they invented numbers. I’m sure our military kin would love it if they stopped getting paychecks because we were no longer using numbers in protest of supporting the middle east!

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