02 February 2007

Boston Free of Terrorist Cartoon Scourge or The Big Security Lie

Well, Boston officials successfully protected their populace from the threat of cartoon characters.

An advertising stunt by the makers of a new cartoon - putting up illuminated images of a character from a cartoon around town - became the source of alarm for police who actually blew up one of these characters. Odd. I would have expected a more wry and aloof response from the city that was the birthplace of pragmatism and is home to Harvard and MIT.

At no time in history have fewer people died violently, and yet it is hard to imagine a populace more paranoid than Americans at the dawn of the 21st century. We seem to have a hard time accepting that bad things are likely to happen and one can respond to this in one of two ways: spend one's life trying to eradicate evil or spend it trying to create good.

It seems the big lie of conservative candidates that we face a sea of violent threats from which only they can keep us safe. It seems the big lie of liberal candidates that we face a sea of economic threats from which only they can keep us safe. Does anyone want to live in a world where there is no unemployment insurance or police? No. But I don't want to live in a world where no one can be laid off or where aberrant behavior is automatically assumed to be cause for police action either.

And for once, I hardly blame the candidates for telling these big lies. The polity seems disinclined to vote for anyone who would dare to tell folks that they have to accept the fact of living in the shadow of death and financial crisis. Wasting so much energy on trying to avoid the inevitable, we seem to miss what is possible. Rather than create something extraordinary, we waste our time insisting on, and listening to, lies, demanding fanciful stories like children at bedtime.

4 comments:

Vladimir Dzhuvinov said...

Odd. I would have expected a more wry and aloof response from the city that was the birthplace of pragmatism and is home to Harvard and MIT.

Well, Boston also hosted a famous tea party that sparked the American Revolution :)

Hopefully this act you write about won't be the start of a new revolutionary uprising against evil cartoon characters :)

Life Hiker said...

Our law enforcement people have lots of new toys and protocols, and nothing makes them happier than a chance to try them out. So common sense goes out the window and toys get blown up. Great job, Keystone Kops!

You are right - our culture is a fearful one. Sunlight. E Coli. Mercury. Child Molesters. Home Invaders. Vaccinations. Muslims. Bullying. Cholesterol. Wherever we look, something is out to get us and someone is offering to protect us.

Actually, bad things are not likely to happen to us. The lives of most Americans are boring and uneventful. We rely on artificial fear to keep our hearts beating, since few of us opt either to eradicate evil or create good. Maybe our problem is a courage deficit.

Ron Davison said...

Vladimir - does this mean that Elmer Fudd is now in charge of homeland security?

LH - I've often wondered to what extent the pentagon is biased towards action as a means to try out the toys. Combine work ethic with a $700 billion budget and you probably guarantee some kind of military action.

Vladimir Dzhuvinov said...

Ewmew Fudd?

I thought he was in charge of the Vice presidency? :)