Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Fireworks Old and New

I have talked before about my intentional avoidance of the Mall on the Fourth of July, but one year, my family decided to try out the Iwo Jima Memorial, having heard the views there are good, and the crowds not too bad.  The weather in DC had been a little rainy but it was supposed to be clear for the fireworks.  Well, shortly after the fireworks we discovered a problem.  There was enough moisture in the air, that after the first batch of fireworks, all we could see from our vantage point was the smoke that was taking longer than usual to dissipate.  We ended up calling it quits and heading home early.  
This year, we had rain Sunday, rain Monday, although again it was supposed to let up by the evening.  But walking home pre-fireworks, I could see that all the various neighbors setting off their own fireworks were creating giant plumes of smoke that lingered, such that if you didn't know what day it was, looking down a block might have you wondering if you should alert the fire department. 
My cat was a little freaked and between that and the weather, I decided to just watch the fireworks on TV, rather than going to the roof.  And I noticed that the fireworks cameras were switching more rapidly than usual, since about half of them were blocked by low hanging clouds, or slow to dissipate smoke.  And then, during one song, about half the fireworks looked so clear that Twitter instantly called shenanigans.  PBS did admit they sprinkled in old footage, which is an interesting choice, mostly because I think it raises the questions. Is "A Capital Fourth" intended to be a depiction of a live event or the best possible show?  So, if one performer had a bad night, could we swap them out?  Are viewers there for those fireworks or just any fireworks?  Are the fireworks intended to match up in some way to the music?  And if swap outs are made, should PBS notify their viewers or just hope they don't notice?