New Airport Scanning Procedure Might Cause Testicular Cancer in Both Men and Women
Last week, the Obama Administration decided to end the color-coded terrorist alert system because scientists, in a recent study, discovered that prolonged exposure to colors with long wavelengths, such as red, orange, and yellow, are believed to increase glaucoma. However, since the decision to faze out the terror advisory system was made, attacks on America have gone up ten-fold.
Okay, pause. Press on your carotid artery for fifteen seconds and count the little beats pumping in your neck. Good, now if you tallied more than 20 beats per second you probably experienced good old-fashioned fear from the fabrications in the previous paragraph or from the article’s title. (Or you may need to see a doctor, seriously.)
It is true, however, that the government is ending its futile color-coded terror alert system, which was like a thermometer in the ass of America that was always reading too high and making us panic. The news stations added to our apprehension by greeting us each morning with that terror status at the bottom of the screen among the ticker lines. The government and news stations were like two twisted parents with Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, keeping their own kid poisoned with “severe” (red), “high” (orange), and “elevated” (yellow) levels of fear, but never allowing poor little USA to nurse itself back to “guarded” (blue) or better yet a “low” cold sweat (green).
And when I said the government was ending it, what I meant to say is that they will be replacing it with a new system that “communicates precise, actionable information based on the latest intelligence to law enforcement,” according to the statements an anonymous senior Homeland Security official made to the Washington Post. Oh, and we have also brought in another tactic for building up fear:
Hello crotch checks and terminal chemo. It doesn’t matter which way you hang… politically, these new measures are scaring everyone. One side is against it, convinced that they’ll develop cancer from the radiation. The other side is for it, but you can tell they’re stressing themselves out as they stare at every penis pat down for the next underwear bomber (even though most successful copycats don’t copy failures).
We have to face it. Investing in fear is like investing in gold, (which, go figure, is invested in primarily by people scared that the dollar will collapse). If anxiety were a little bit more finite, it would probably trade well on stock exchange. This stuff controls, sells, and galvanizes.
We’ve got Islamophobia and Obamaphobia competing for the headlines. We’re scared of the Tea Party and anxious about missing out on the American Dream. We’re not even sure what’s scarier anymore: swine flu or swine flu vaccines.
And even when there is something to possibly panic about, the message just becomes warped, causing stupid people to do stupid things.
Take for instance this past Friday’s failed plot to blow up a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon. It was an attack by one man who was an unknowing puppet for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had prepared and supplied this extremist, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, with a fake bomb. Two days after his arrest, a likely hate crime was committed against Muslims in the area, when a mosque that Mohamud had attended was set on fire. Now Muslims are fearing backlash.
Fear leads to hate leads to crime, which leads to fear to hate to crime. So forth. So on.
Whenever fear in the media gets revved up, I remind myself of when the Beltway Sniper was haunting everyone within fifty miles from the Capitol in 2002. I was attending university just outside of Washington and for weeks, people changed their lives. Folks walked briskly (if they even left their homes) and stopping to chat became taboo. Two different girls who gave me rides to work begged me to pump their gas, fearing that they’d get sniped at the pump. And whenever a white box truck drove by—which was what all of the news stations were reporting to be the killer’s mode of transport—forget about it. People were diving into bushes. In the end, it was discovered that the two killers had been shooting from the trunk of a blue Chevrolet Caprice. Not a white van.
There will always be some version of the groin probe. Twenty-four-hour-news-with-nothing-much-to-say seems like it’s going to stay. A terrorist who happens to be Muslim might pop up every now and again, too. But we need to keep two things in mind:
First let’s remember FDR’s hackneyed (but only because nobody listened the first million times) warning: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
And if that doesn’t work for you, then just remember that sometimes the white box truck is a blue Chevrolet.
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