for January 14, 2004
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for today's rant...
[Inscrutable Links: John Peel Says "Hi". FM106.3 Staff List. FM106.3's 1988 playlist.]
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman
Altrok is a music and music-related-stuff site, but it's been hard to hear the band over the squeal of sirens lately. The Terror Level was elevated in December and only days ago descended to a normal state of paranoia. The January 12 issue of Newsweek carried a cover banner: "Terror In the Air" which we all know, twenty-eight months after the Trade Center fell, means airplanes as bombs and civilians as incendiary devices. Yes, terrible things have happened. Yes, many people were killed and before this nightmare ends, others will die. While surfing the feeling that disaster lurks around the corner may be dramatic, it ultimately steals from the surfer the joys and pleasures of real, honest-to-goodness everyday life.
We are all in grave danger of believing that unless we're in actual danger, we are less than fully alive.
Blame Hollywood, blame soap operas, blame the Department of Homeland Security. Hell, blame the Gap for jeopardizing our selfless love of youthful physiques. Blame anybody you want, then put it behind you. Step out of the mob and think about that pitchfork in your hand. What in Heaven's name are you doing?
Last weekend, "The Bad News Bears" played on some movie channel and Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love caught it for the first time in at least two decades. (Yes, two.) At the end of the movie, Walter Matthau tosses beer cans to his little league players. They're roughly eleven years old. They open the cans, drink the beer and pour it over one another in celebration of their successes. Your Sweet pointed at the TV and shouted, "THAT'S THE AMERICA I GREW UP IN!"
True, we don't miss the Post-Vietnam Malaise or parents beating kids in public. But now, in a time when adults are encouraged to rat each other out for mild offenses and children can't play outside without an armed escort and a notary public, we ought to stop where we're standing and realize what we've already lost.
It's big. It's really important.
We have lost the ability to go about our business without fear of lawsuits, snap judgments and the deprivation of what rights we have left.
You're about to say we have to trade these and other rights for security. Clam up. Do you work or live in New York? Boston? Washington, D.C.? Orlando? No matter what terrifying, horrific crime a terrorist perpetrates, the chances that anything short of global nuclear holocaust will directly affect you are so slim as to be ludicrous, and the Department of Homeland Security knows it. Chances are very, very good that you will escape terrorist attack.
Why is Tom Ridge so interested in elevated terror levels? Seems like there must be something in it for him, but not for you. Why? What exactly are you going to do about yellow, orange or red anyhow? Some things will happen in history, no matter what you do.
Ever wondered why Japanese cartoons are so strange? Why is amine so full of beautifully drawn graphic violence? It's simple: after the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese lived through the end of the world. It might make sense now to pay attention to what we can learn there, but there's more. They endured horrors we can only imagine, and the country and the culture survived.
Sure, businessmen developed a creepy fixation on girls' white panties, but Japan recovered.
Forget alerts and terror levels. Forget blind threats and government secrets. These are gambits designed to frighten and intimidate you into obedience. Let's take this down to the very bottomest of bottom lines: you are an adult, and you make your own decisions, hopefully based on fact and not fear.
Your Dearest prefers honest talk from her government in the event of impending disaster. Running and hiding will not do. In the event that unavoidable nuclear holocaust were in the offing, Your Darling would want a few minutes to make her peace with the universe, such as it is, a few minutes to speak with the significant persons in her life, and - if she's within five miles of ground zero - enough time to move to the exact spot where the bombs would fall. It is better to face the future boldly than to cower in the airless present.
If these are our true choices, let's hear it. Otherwise, turn down the sirens so we can hear the band.
©2004 Robin Pastorio-Newman
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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