Nobody manufactures inappropriate hysteria quite like American TV news, and as we landed in Phoenix, Arizona, the local stations were filled with gamely hysterical bulletins and frenzied on-the-spot reporting of an “extreme weather event” during the previous night. Men and women with glow-in-the-dark teeth expounded breathlessly on light property damage and inch-deep flash floods, one perma-tan news evangelist hunched mournfully in the lee of a small, forlorn suburb of toppled motorhomes. Not far away, no fewer than 16 people were struck by lightning, including a golfer whose ambition to birdie the 15th hole overcame his aversion to waving a metal stick around during an electrical storm. The news described him as “shocked but alive”, apparently without irony.
Pictures: Justin Leighton
This feature was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Top Gear magazine