Look, I understand that the people tasked with writing them want to make their headlines sharp and vivid. And it’s old news that personification is an easy short-cut to do that. But who at the AP really thought is was appropriate – and clever, apparently – to write “Hurricane Wilma Punishes Mexico Coastline”?
I mean, besides reifying certain assumptions about the relationship between suffering and wrongdoing (you won’t see a headline reading “Major Heart Attack Punishes Dick Cheney”), it’s a ridiculous image. Like, highly ridiculous.