Scapegoating is an indefensible practice: blaming one person for something bad that they are not responsible for. And yet we do it all the time. One surprisingly common example involves blaming meteorologists and weather people for the weather. I’m not talking about blaming them when they get the forecast wrong. Rather, I’m talking about blaming them for the weather itself whatever their forecast was.
I’ve been experiencing this phenomenon myself recently (and fairly regularly). You see it has been unseasonably cold here in Edmonton for the last several months. And when you’re talking Edmonton, that’s saying something. (“It is unseasonably cold in Edmonton” is like “this carnival corndog is unusually low in nutritional value.”) Anyway, as a result I have found myself getting angry at the weather guy. It would hard to have a more bizarre, irrational case of scapegoating than that. What does that pipsqueak have to do with the temperature, humidity and wind? And yet blame him I do.
And apparently it is not just me. Every time he gives another rotten forecast, he makes apologies apparently in acknowledgement of a hostile audience. So there must be others out there, like me, who find themselves getting mad at the guy for the forecast he can’t do anything about. A common enough tendency, and yet a truly irrational case of scapegoating that makes no sense.
But then again, perhaps I wouldn’t get so angry if he were just more apologetic about the whole thing.