The Hullabaloo About Haboob

We had a huge dust storm a few weeks ago that I wrote about. That post was about the storm watch via social media.

This post is about the word haboob. For some reason, haboob hit its tipping point with that storm. Every newsperson was using it and trying not to giggle while doing so. The guys especially seemed to like it. Silly but they can't seem to help themselves.

It even made the Rachel Maddow show. Check out the video of TV personalities saying haboob. It's amusing.

Sugar Daddy and I had lunch and he commented that he'd never heard the word before. I said that I had and got an "of course, you know-it-all" like response. Same thing happened last night with Jello-Shot Prince. Can I help it if I'm literate?

The reason the topic came up is that we had another dust storm last night. It wasn't too bad but it was a little nasty outside as we were trying to drink our pre-Diamondbacks game beers. Fortunately, we were pretty well sheltered. Our friend Scooter couldn't help himself and made haboob jokes that were probably inspired by the lovely young lady serving the beer. I doubt they were real but they were spectacular.

OK, so it was a new word to a lot of people. But, most of them seemed to really like it. Except for one crank who wrote a letter to the Editor at The Arizona Republic. I don't have the original note but his view was that we shouldn't use the word haboob because "how would our returning veterans from the Middle East feel about hearing an Arabic word?".


Does he not know that the English language is comprised of words stolen from a bunch of other languages? Should we have stopped using German words after WWII?

Sorry, WWII veteran, I'd offer you a bratwurst and sauerkraut but I don't want to offend you or trigger your PTSD.

I contemplating drafting a response of my own to the Editor but laziness set in. However, some guy wasn't lazy and here's his response in today's paper:

Regarding the letter Saturday by the writer who feels insulted because the Arabic word "haboob" is being used by TV commentators ("Don't call our dust storm haboobs"):

May I remind the writer that, according to his logic, the following words of foreign origin should also not be used as they may insult him and our armed forces? Typhoon, shawl, pajamas and kiosk. Also, we should not teach "algebra," use the "zero" or wear "khaki" pants.

The "phenomenon" of the Arizona dust storm also occurs in California, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, New Mexico and any place in the world where a hot, dry wind blows across a desert or field.

Let's not become so "xenophobic" that we forget to remember that we are citizens of the world, nor fail to recognize the contributions of all cultures to the richness of our language. - DavidWilson, Goodyear

Nicely said, Mr. Wilson.


-Mike said…
...and nicely said, Ms. Pfister.

Glad to hear that the 'beers' were spectacular! :-)
Cheesehead said…
I need to give a Hat Tip to TRS for telling me about the Maddow video.

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