Friday, February 02, 2007

The only thing we have is fear itself

So let me get this straight, a few Lite Brites were left around Boston and the city paralyzed itself with fear and brought the town to a complete halt? This is how we are fighting the war on terror? (Don't even get me started on that phrase. Before we fight a war against a feeling or a tactic we should be fighting a war on illiteracy.) Oh but it had lights and wires and it was electronic and funny looking you say. Can't wait until a lost Speak and Spell shuts down New York City. Run for your lives, it's talking! If this is how we are reacting to this stuff we are all doomed.

I remember the terror alerts pumped into the nation's veins every time the President needed a bump in the polls. Watch out for the malls and the banks and apartment buildings and trains and buses and railways and planes and basically everywhere. And after my ducking and covering, in the words of Gomer Pyle, surprise, surprise, surprise it's all a hoax or false alarm. Some waitress hears some lunchgoers talking about "bringing down the building" and of course it's not construction crews talking it's Osama bin Laden's henchmen meeting at the local Denny's to plot their next move. Shut I-95 down for eight hours? Go ahead it makes for great programming. With 24 hours to fill you got to point a camera somewhere. White powder on the sidewalk? Can't be a spilled packet of Nutrasweet. No it must be Anthrax. Do you hear hoofbeats? Are they horses or zebras? Go with zebras that's a better story.

In Israel when security officials know a bomber is on his way to a certain town or area of town they, A: put out a public APB on every radio station and cable news show live and plead with the public to report anything suspicious or, B: release no information to give you a chance to intercept the bomber before he attacks and thus avoiding tipping him off that you are looking for him and then he just picks a place at random to blow up. Um, I'd recommend you go with "A." If you want to really worry about fighting terror plots in your backyard you can do it the Israeli way, no terror alerts, no garbage cans in public places to allow concealment of bombs, searches and pat downs before you enter malls and the shooting of purses and briefcases, to explode any bomb, left by accident by a forgetful person. Oh I forgot my backpack in the park! Blamo! No, let's go with the unserious American way of fighting a feeling called terror: first soil yourself then duck and cover and then arrest some grungy guerrilla marketers who got exactly what they wanted. The next step is to ask for and receive additional federal funds to fight the war or terror or Lite Brites, whatever the case may be.

Ten other cities had these crappy marketing pieces of junk and no one cared. No calls to 911. No bridges and tunnels closed. No city brought to a complete halt. Only Boston. There was a time when Boston was fearless. Stood up the the British Empire. The Battle of Bunker Hill, part of the Siege of Boston, is considered by some to be the bloodiest battle in the American Revolutionary War. Today a Lite Brite has them wetting themselves. We may win the war but we lost this battle.


Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

It wasn't Boston in a panic, it was the bomb squad, the police and all the other agencies that need us to know how necessary they are. They didn't create the panic tough - that was the media. Turner plants the mysterious boxes and Turner's network's market share goes way up.

Even so, it was perhaps the stupidest marketing gimmick I've ever heard of and to think they should have ignored packages with batteries and wires attached to bridge supports because it was "probably" an ad for some TV garbage isn't realistic.

I would think that in Israel, the repercussions would have been far worse for whoever did that sort of thing.

8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think 180 days jail would be appropriate.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know - to say that it was a package of wires and electronics is overstating it a bit. It was little lightbulbs in the shape of a cartoon character flipping the bird.

12:13 AM  
Blogger d.K. said...

Is it a stretch to drag Bush into this? I don't think it is. He now gets a paragraph in future junior high science textbooks now too - probably on the same page where we learn about Pavlov's experiments. We're never going to escape that guy's legacy, are we?

6:58 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

So if someone leaves little boxes with batteries and wires all over town we should ignore them if they have smiley faces and obscene gestures on them? Who wants to bet their life and other people's lives that it's only another manifestation of commercial brat culture?

Freedom of speech doesn't allow you to use the B word in airport security and if you leave a package unattended on the train or bus, it's got to be removed and it's going to be removed. I don't think this is different.

Try a stunt like that in Israel and watch what they do to you!

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're not going to win the war either.

4:54 PM  

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