Sandiphilia is the condition of feeling empathy for one’s fellow man and woman, brought about by a catastrophic storm that takes lives and destroys property. It has been on full display for the last week and — at risk of sounding callous — one almost wishes events like this could happen more frequently, if only to remind us of our common humanity. It has also been a welcome respite from this long political season of us versus them.
It once was the case that great leaders could bring us together as a people. Now it’s weather forecasters. As Sandy morphed into Frankenstorm and then into Superstorm, it was to them we turned, with their blue screen graphics, clever storm logos and hyperventilating predictions. At first, we watched with skepticism, knowing the demands of ratings give television stations great incentive to hype even the most trivial of weather events. But the relentlessness of the bad news and the confirmation by less biased sources — such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — ultimately proved persuasive.