February 21, 2013, 11:43 AM —
Image credit: Flickr/alexeya
While the world tries to figure out whether last week's meteor crash in Russia was:
1. Something we should have seen coming
2. Part of some vague, ill-defined conspiracy
3. A warning from God
...Jon Stewart makes an interesting observation on The Daily Show, which is that the reactions of the many Russians who caught the meteor streaking across the blue morning sky were remarkably understated given the presumed rarity of the phenomenon they were witnessing at that particular moment.
You can "hear" the reactions of several motorists in this compilation video I posted last Friday. Here are the transcripts from the dashboard cam audio:
Well, not total silence, since there was music playing in many of the vehicles. But the drivers themselves were absolutely silent in these YouTube videos! I can understand being stunned, but if I saw something like that crossing the sky in front of me, I guarantee that what would come from my mouth could only be transcribed here with the use of many asterisks and other cartoony swear-word symbols.
Now here is a good example of a reasonable response to a shocking natural occurrence (with potentially fatal consequences) playing out in front of your eyes. Not far from where I live in upstate New York, a woman pulled over from a rainy drive last year on the New York State Thruway near Amsterdam (northwest of Albany). For some reason she was running her smartphone camera during the storm while she waited in a parking lot, and she posted the video (which is below) to YouTube.
Right before the 6-minute mark, the camera shows a dark and ominous funnel forming. Then you hear:
Oh my God (long pause)
Oh my God (not so long a pause)
Oh my God (forget the pauses)
Oh my God
Oh my God
Admittedly she's a little light on narrative up until now, but soon she gets to the point:
Oh, I can't believe what I'm seeing. I can't believe what I'm seeing. Oh my God, I can't believe what I'm seeing. I think that's a tornado. Oh my God. A tornado's crossing the Thruway.
Then she gets pretty descriptive about exactly where she is and admits to being "a little freaked out."
But here's a person seeing something unusual -- no one in the Northeast wakes up each morning and says, "I hope there are no tornadoes today," because they're really rare here -- and she effectively communicates the shock and gravity of the situation. I think she performed admirably (despite what the idiots who forced her to disable YouTube comments say).
Meanwhile, the Russian dashboard-cam YouTube people offer only stony silence as they watch a giant, glowing object streak across the sky. It is sort of weird.