Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We've Lost Our Way

The picture to the right is from an al-Qai'da webzine. (No, I'm not linking it.) The Al-Qai'da affiliate spent over $4,200 on bombs that didn't even work, sent to the wrong addresses of Jewish houses of worship and the response from the U.S. government will be to spend billions of dollars more beefing up security and making the United States travel experience even more humiliating.

Which, by their metric, means they won. The thing didn't even have to blow up. They could have put thrown Pop Rocks and C4 in box filled with defective cigarette lighters, sending it to 123 Fake St. to Gotham City, USA and their aim still would have been achieved because the United States freaked the fuck out.

In short, their expenditure is so minimal and ours is so incredible that whatever they do, almost no matter how ridiculous, is going to have an exponential response. They want us to be scared and terrified and they want to short circuit our routines and it's happening. Like, now, in the costly body scanners that apparently, can show your the size and shape of your genitalia or the more thorough pat-downs going through security.

And for the record, I'm against it. I think it's invasive and I think for the level of personal dignity I'm sacrificing, there is not an adequate level of protection that is given back to me. If we're stopping people at the airport because they have a tumor that looks suspiciously like a homemade incendiary, then that means our intelligence services, the police and god knows who else have failed miserably.

Bur I'm exhausted with that. Lewis Black, when he was on the Daily Show most recently, had the best point on the issue that I've seen so far: Man, we've killed how many Iraqi and Afghani civilians in the name of the War on Terror, we've sent goon squads to how many different portions of the globe, we've commissioned how many terror taxis but the goddamn rubicon is an exasperated Dilbert searching for wires between my testicles?

(Oh! This may be/probably is different for women. I speak for myself and only myself.)

This might be a turn of phrase I regret in a couple years, but hell: The black bags, the waterboarding, the human cost of the collateral damage disrobes me far, far more than some TSA personnel seeing the shape of my penis on a computer screen. Yes, it's invasive. Yes, it's humiliating. This ship sailed years ago.

The topic exhausts me, so I'm left with trying to find good exhausted music and that didn't work too well, until I changed my criteria to search for good relaxing music. The line that was stuck in my head was from the Gaslight Anthem's American Slang: These bandages just don't keep me in/and when it was over/I woke up alone.

The electric version has too much gallop and energy, but acoustic, the song's played with a bit of sorrow. Which! Is negated by the joy in the kids in Jersey singing the song back and adding in the wooh oooohs that are on the studio version. Also: "I made...the internet...about that...and they fixed it!" Lesson learned: I shouldn't be so mopey.

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