Last week's eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, the Icelandic volcano whose ash has darkened the skies over Europe, was no laughing matter
The eruption rocked the global economy, forced us to confront our
dependence on airplanes, and served as an unpleasant reminder that
we're likely to see more extreme weather events in the future. But some
strains of commentary have emerged, and we're here to document
- Man Is Either Stronger Than Nature or at Its Mercy The Wall Street Journal
offers a puzzling staff editorial that seems to argue two contradictory
points at once: 1) "In the contest of Man versus Eyjafjallajokull, our
money is not on the volcano"; and 2) "mother nature can neither be
appeased nor truly conquered." Either way, the volcano definitely
proves that trying to address "the notional threat of global warming"
is a fool's errand: "Nature can never be brought fully under control,
and it is the essence of hubris to believe that it can."
- Vancouver Is a Really Nice City! The Guardian's Adam LeBor
takes a swipe at English coverage of the first delayed travelers to
return to Heathrow: they're being "hailed... as some kind of conquering
heroes, returning home after the kind of physical and mental ordeal
usually confined to ancient mythology." But those travelers had spent
their layover in Vancouver, a city "repeatedly ranked one of the top
five most liveable and civilised places to live in the world ... Let's
not pretend that five days in a modern Canadian hotel with, presumably,
the airline picking up the bill, is some kind of traumatic ordeal."
- 'Let's Wait for the Dust to Settle' At National Review, Michael Rubin
offers up a collection of Eyjafjallajökull-related one-liners, many of
which gently jab at Iceland's recent economic woes. Our favorite?
"Iceland goes bankrupt, then it manages to set itself on fire. This has
insurance scam written all over it."
- 'Please Refer to Our Style Guide' The Awl's Choire Sicha
has some fun with both Eyjafjallajökull's twisty spelling and the tenor
of The New York Times' coverage: "EVEN THOUGH other volcanoes besides
Iceland's Asdlfjasdfasdf; aren't blowing up, it doesn't mean they couldn't, report scientists, newspapers hungry for filler." The one-sentence post is tagged "Science," "Sigh," "Volcanoes," and "Whatever."
- Plane X Flies Into Cloud Y The ash cloud lends itself to striking visual metaphors, something cartoonists Michael Ramirez and Steve Benson
have both noticed. For Ramirez, the plume stands for "European
Socialism," while Benson sees an analogue for bilious Tea Party
rhetoric. If there are other examples we've missed, feel free to note
them in the comments.
- One Does Not Simply Walk Into Reykjavik The blogger and Buzzfeed user Mathieu S.
devised a meme that's now pinging around the Web: Given a collection of
photos of awesome, smoky devastation, can you tell which depict Iceland
and which show Mordor from Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series? If you're not a devotee of the films, some of the answers may surprise you.
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