Arizonans Protest Haboob Job

The second haboob in a month rolls over Phoenix, Arizona on July 5. People are angry about it, but not for the reason you might expect.

Twice in a month, Phoenix, Arizona has experienced a rare kind of dust storm so sudden and severe that it caused traffic accidents, disrupted airline operations and generally scared people silly. Not hard to understand: the dust cloud created by the storm surge from a group of  thunderstorms was 3,000 feet high, propelled by 40-mile-per-hour winds, and dropped visibility in moments to mere feet. The Arizona chattering class, predictably, is in an uproar.

Are people clamorously accepting the vicious storms as further evidence of climate change? Nope. Demanding action to moderate human contributions to the greenhouse effect? Naw. They are upset, the New York Times reports today, because the unique storms are being identified with an Arabic word: haboob. One writer of letters to the editor framed his argument this way: “How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?” Really? We are at war with the Middle East? We hate Arabs so much we cannot bear to hear a word that comes from their language?

“Excuse me, Mr. Weatherman!”  said another scribe,  “Who gave you the right to use the word ‘haboob’ in describing our recent dust storm?”

Indeed. Just because it is what meteorologists have always called such storms, how dare they? And this is just the tip of the sand dune, when it comes to meteorologists (I’m sorry. Too big a word for Arizonites? Try Weather Man.) providing aid and comfort to the enemy by using the enemy’s language. They are constantly talking about temperatures being above and below — zero. They have been caught using algebra. They often appear, when covering extreme weather events by standing in them, wearing khaki. And if you surprise them at their home at night, you may find them secretly wearing pajamas. 

They must hate us because we’re free.

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7 Responses to Arizonans Protest Haboob Job

  1. New words appear in butchered American use as a result of our foreign “interventions”. A good example is boo koo which is of course beaucoup which soldiers brought back from Vietnam. Haboob will probably stick also. Americans like to distract themselves with “issues” like this instead of working on the real problems, like building unsustainable cities in the desert.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      Exactly. By the way, my vote for the first such American city to be abandoned: Las Vegas. Within ten years.
      Also by the way, haboob is not new, it’s the long-standard term for this particular form of dust storm, which is why we haven’t heard it much. But as you say, we have adopted words from the “enemy” before without harm to the Republic.

      • Fiona Fairlamb says:

        I’m curious, Mr. Lewis. Why do you believe Las Vegas should be abandoned? I have friends who have lived there for over 30 years and it has become something so much more than casinos.

        • Tom Lewis says:

          It is not that I believe it should be abandoned, but that I think it will have to be abandoned in our lifetimes. I am not calling down God’s judgment on gamblers, but observing the operation of the laws of nature, one of which is that people require water to live. When two million people depend for their water on a Colorado River whose flow is declining every year, and an impoundment of the Colorado (Lake Mead) whose level is dropping every year, arithmetic tells you that on a certain date in the not-too-distant future, there will be no more water. It’s another law of nature: when you have only so much stuff, and you use some stuff every day, there will come a day when there is no more stuff. And while I invoke no value judgment on gamblers, there must be a special category somewhere for folks who use the last few million gallons of water there is to nourish lawns, power fountains and operate water-slide amusements in the middle of a desert. I’m sure your friends are nice people. Urge them to flee.

          • Fiona Fairlamb says:

            Actually, I have read other arithmetic perspectives on what may happen to Las Vegas in future as well as seeing pictures of how much water is disappearing from Lake Mead — it’s quite visible.
            It has also occurred to me that if four states are using the waters of the Colorado River (a river that I once rafted — one of my best vacations), that is a circumstance that can not go on indefinitely given the rising populations in the four states involved.
            Finally, I remember — while living in the central valley of Arizona — how amazed I was that man-made lakes were continuing to be created in the area while the water table continued to drop, a fact that seemed to garner no interest when I mentioned it to anyone … which I eventually stopped doing.
            As a post-script, what do you think about the current circumstances of very wealthy families and corporations buying rights to natural water deposits throughout the world, as well as arrangements the Nestle Company made with the state of Michigan re: water in the Great Lakes?
            Thanks for your comments.

  2. Charlie Ray says:

    People are too sensitive. The weather man didn’t say haboob to upset people. Retards. Most likely a bunch of white people needing something to cry about.
    p.S. im white as they come, upper class, and well educated.

    • Barb Hansen says:

      This is just too funny. I would say I have to agree with you Charlie. We americans have so many terms related to other cultures and countries that we often use in our every day lives. I am also an upper class, Caucasian, woman and I too believe society has become too sensitive. Especially when it relates to ganging up on a foreign country. Whether we are at war or not, haboob is no insult.