News and absurdity officially crossed lines on the journalism-humor index recently, with a report earlier this month that U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is decrying the fact that black names are underrepresented when it comes to naming hurricanes. (I know its hard to believe, but I am not making this up.)
The current nomenclature for the devastating storms is too lily white, according to Lee, sounding painfully like a character from the popular satirical newspaper The Onion (www.theonion.com).
All racial groups should be represented, said Lee, who would make a good leader for any future House Committee on Injecting Race Into Every Aspect of Life. She hoped federal weather officials would try to be inclusive of African-American names.
This story raises some intriguing possibilities, which I present here in a question and answer format:
Q: What exactly is a black name?
A: While names obviously dont have a skin color, some names are associated with certain races or ethnicities. Lee herself has suggested naming hurricanes Keisha, Jamal and Deshawn.
Q: Arent hurricanes actually white?
A: They are, according to every satellite photo of a hurricane Ive ever seen.
Q: Isnt this a no-win situation?
A: Yes. Its only a matter of time before some so-called black leader is offended by attaching black-sounding names to destructive and unpredictable storms. Im sure the Rev. Jesse Jackson – always eager to appear before the media – is planning a protest.
Q: Does this mean there will be affirmative action for hurricanes?
A: Considering todays politically correct climate, its a definite possibility.
Q: Speaking of political correctness, arent you worried somebody will be upset at your use of the term black instead of African-American?
A: Bite me.
Q: Why is Rep. Lee so concerned about what to name hurricanes?
A: She only wants to concentrate on the big problems, not minor issues like the war in Iraq and the nations economy.
Q: Are you sure youre not making this story up?
A: Yes. Im no Jayson Blair.
Q: Whats he up to now?
A: Not much. In a case of somebody getting what they deserve, Esquire magazine has decided against commissioning Blair to write a review of a film about another media fraud.
My Two Cents is a weekly column where the author – who’d like to see a hurricane named “Homer” – gets in his two cents worth in spite of the old saying that you only get a penny for your thoughts.