Storm phenomena | The nebulous precipitations of meteorological jargon on television

It will be the fault of global warming, as they say, there are certainly no more beautiful snowfalls than once. Naked mountains, stopped ski lifts, goodbye winter sports. If at least we could say goodbye to “snowfall” too! Which could also be “snowy phenomena” or in the lighter forms “phenomena with a predominantly snowy nature”.

It is the swampy language of weather forecasts, which like all swampy languages ​​tries hard to camouflage the “thing itself” (since “phenomena” is brought up, a recurring concept of phenomenological philosophy comes to mind) behind a profusion of adjectives , like the “Braghettone” Daniele da Volterra, in compliance with the Tridentine dictates, covered the Michelangelo-style nudity of the Sistine Chapel with veils and fig leaves.

There are many (and sometimes hilarious) examples: rains are never just rains but “rainy precipitations” (for friends, even just “precipitations”) and, if short and intense, “of a downpour (or predominantly) nature ”, thunderstorms are inevitably “storm phenomena” or alternatively “thunderstorm events”, the Alps become without fail “the Alpine arc”, winter “the winter season” (which goes along with the “spring season”, to the “summer season” and the “autumn season”). And of course predictions are never relative to todaybut to “today’s day” – here we are no longer helped by a philosophical memory, but we seem to see the great Totò, standing with his thumbs in the armholes of his waistcoat, when he makes a parody of bureaucratese: “In date today…” ( today, as it happens, the images of a police officer who spoke of a crime as a “criminal event” have just appeared on the news).

Each sectoral language has its technicalities, its jargon that makes it immediately recognizable. Often even difficult to understand – think of certain “explanations” from doctors or lawyers. Meteo-bureaucratese has become understandable and even familiar to us by virtue of its repetition, always the same, every day, several times a day.

An insider, Mario Giuliacci, former director of the Epson Meteo Center which continues to publish its forecasts on the website every day, has put together a small “meteorological stupidary” for fun: there are round formulaic expressions that have now become catchphrases, such as “high and stratified cloud cover”, “alternating clearings and cloud cover”, “irregular cloud cover”, “intense cloud cover at times”, “mainly cumulus clouds”, “afternoon (or morning) cloud accumulations associated with local thunderstorm activity” , “at sunset and at night haze in the valleys and along the coasts”, “temperature without notable variations”, “occasional rainfall cannot be excluded”.

A warp of echoes and automatisms that activate themselves, as if it weren’t the meteorologist on duty who uses certain formulas, but the formulas themselves that use the meteorologist to reproduce through his vocal cords. The result is yet another essay on that linguistic plague which is the anti-Italian, on which Italo Calvino, sadly powerless, had already put his finger on many years ago, and to which other times it happened to call back in this section. A diabolical form of communication that implacably transforms the concrete into the abstract, dematerialises, complicates, confuses, confuses, smokes, distances instead of approaching, excludes instead of including, ultimately does not communicate. The verbal version of braghettonism, which hides what is (would be) manifest under the mannerist veils of pleonasm. But the Church, five centuries later, made amends and a good part of the veils fell in the Sistine Chapel. Everyday Italian, on the other hand, continues to build walls.

Storm phenomena | The nebulous precipitations of meteorological jargon on television –