Musings & Threads. Harvey and Irma
Harvey and Irma, Schluter That Is, Not the Hurricanes.
The New York Times reported on December 29th something very interesting about their online reader engagement. They utilize a news data service that collects information about articles so that they can determine which perform best. Measures are digitally oriented and focused on “likes, shares, comments,” etc. As would be expected, articles included in the top 10 were those on important topics like the London Terrorist attack, the indictment of Paul Manafort, the Las Vegas shooting. However, the best performing article in 2017 was a brief one about a couple from Spokane, Washington whose names are Harvey and Irma—really, really—and had been married (to each other) 75 years!! The story was published in September, after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Texas, and before Irma hit Florida. Just as a note, Harvey 104, and Irma 93, never experienced a hurricane “in person.” They were married in 1942—before Irma graduated from high school. Harvey was a barber, and they were foster parents—over the years to 120 foster children! Many of the children had disabilities. It was a nice, feel good story—75 years, and they were so cute. Of course their anniversary photo is included. The article reads like a mash up of a history of hurricane names sprinkled with a “years later” wedding story you might read in the Styles section. This story got action the likes of which is rarely seen. Admiration and support of these two crossed the political divide from the liberal media to the far right--Bobby Jindal, Glenn Beck, and even mean-spirited Ann Coulter! My favorite tweet mentioned was this one: “They are Category 5 ADORABLE.” So why did this piece, which would normally get less than 5 minutes of attention cause such a stir? Because amidst everything going on in this world, major hurricanes and man-made storms included, what we really want to do is hang on to something that makes us feel good, hear about people whose good values are reward enough, and make us feel hopeful. Yes, that is what it is all about. Hope. Hope that tomorrow can be better than today. Our next in this series is “The Necessity of Hope,” by Angela Rieck. Stay tuned.