Monday, July 26, 2004

Hey, There's A Terror On Your Back!

We're fucked.
I mean, we knew we were fucked, but we didn't know we were FUCKED fucked, you know? Sure, I've used the "I thought it was bad, but I didn't think it was THIS bad" intro so many times it seems to have lost all shred of meaning, but damn, we are FUCKED.
We are fucked because, against all logic and reasoning, Annie Jacobsen is not a global laughingstock. Annie Jacobsen is the "Terror In The Skies, Again" woman. If you don't know what "Terror In The Skies, Again" is, you will. It's one of those things that people should never have paid attention to in the first place, but now that they've started paying attention, nobody can stand to be the one NOT paying attention to it, even though they could be doing something more useful with their time, like going to see Catwoman.
Here's your Official YAD Precis. Crazy white woman gets on plane. A dozen brown men get on the plane. The brown men talk to each other and use the can. The white woman panics. The plane lands safely. The white woman still panics. The brown men are investigated, did nothing wrong, and are just guys. The white woman STILL panics. She writes an article. A website runs the article. The Internet panics. The mainstream media panics, but claims to be reporting ON the panicking. I realize we're all deeply fucked.
Why is this story not over? The panicwoman was WRONG. The Syrian musicians were not trying to blow up the plane, they were not trying to practice blowing up the plane. They were flying to their gig for one reason only: THAT'S HOW YOU GET FROM DETROIT TO L.A. You fly, because it takes too long to walk. Every single piece of "suspicious" behavior she recounts in her article has been checked out. I'm not going to go into detail about that. That's what everyone ELSE is doing. That or just mindlessly amplifying and repeating her crazy panic claims.
No, what drives me up the fucking wall is that this will NEVER DIE. It's part of the lexicon now. Some piece of random racist bullshit is now part of the free-floating sea of diarrhea that is the modern memetic culture. You will get this story in e-mail before you die. Guaranteed. From some crazy panicked relative. We all have them. Well, you all have them. If I have them, they don't have my fucking e-mail address and they're not gonna get it.
If you're LUCKY, you'll get it sometime in the next two weeks. Forwarded eight times already. Whichever sad relative forwarded it to you probably added something to the top like "Wow!" or "Something to think about!" or "Pass this on!". If you're not lucky, and I can almost guarantee you won't be, you'll get it eight months from now. Because the only thing worse than the clueless forwarder is the clueless forwarder who is helplessly behind the times. They're the ones that just sent you the photoshopped John Kerry / Jane Fonda picture last week, and they STILL DON'T KNOW IT'S FAKE. E-mails like this are the reason God invented computer viruses, you know. Just saying.
If anyone tries to tell you that the crazy panic woman story raises important issues, hit them in the face. It raises a sum total of one issue. If you are of Middle Eastern descent, or are one of the two dozen or so ethnicities and/or phenotypes that might be mistaken for Arabic, then sit in your seat, don't look at anyone, don't talk to anyone, stare forward, eat your peanuts, and stay quiet. You won't AVOID going to Guantanamo, it'll just make for a better story if you get out. "Yeah, they thought I was behaving strangely and sending signals to a Mexican guy with a beard four rows back. Something to do with the way I ate my peanuts, and how I never went to the bathroom. It's pretty funny in retrospect, except for the scarring on my testicles where they put the electrodes."
But it's too late now. The genie is out of the bottle, and there's nothing left to do about it except stock up on hard-drive-wiping "screensavers" and maintain a vigilant eye on our inboxes. Just saying.