Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Mount St. Helens in Washington state famously erupted on this date back in 1980, killing 57 people. I mostly remember the event, however, for the torrent of merchandising that followed in its wake across the country. For reasons I found as inexplicable then as I do now, this spectacular, if tragic, natural phenomenon somehow morphed within days into a sort of national obsession, at least for a time. I remember having a little bottle of 'souvenir' volcanic ash like the ones pictured above myself. I also remember seeing the t-shirts everywhere, too. But who would hang a pennant on their bedroom wall commemorating a volcanic eruption that killed over 50 people? That's the power of fads, I guess.