Thursday, November 25, 2010

SOME THOUGHTS ON X-RAYS, "MY JUNK", AND THE MAN...

For the last several days, the news has been focusing on what I’ve been asking for all along: The fact that the American public at large has FINALLY gotten pissed, gotten loud, and gotten in the face of “The Man” to let him know exactly how we, the people, feel…about the Transportation Security Administration’s full-body scan at the airport.

At first, I was thrilled. As I said, I’ve been asking for this! When will folks wake up and make some noise???? And I felt kinda good. I thought it would surely be fun to watch for a while.

And then I thought a wee bit too far…and came to another realization. I was thinking through all of the things that we SHOULD have gotten loud about…raised a ruckus about. You know; things like poverty, homelessness, corruption, greed, etc.

And we got loud about the TSA scanners, pat-downs, and long lines. Well…that falls under the umbrella of “The Man denying our civil liberties”, right???

Well….No.

It’s about a line. Sure, the radiation is a factor. And, sure, I’d guess the Average Joe doesn’t want to go through the pat-down.

But, ultimately…I think this is about a line. WAITING in a line.

Let’s think this through…We’re so anti-waiting, how long does it take for you to change a radio station when there’s dead air? Statistics show it’s not much more than ONE second. How long before you scream at your computer for taking “forever” to load a webpage? About the same time…a couple of seconds. Ever get antsy waiting for your microwave? You know the microwave…the completely-affordable, non-intrusive appliance that cooks almost any food with NUCLEAR energy, so we don’t have to mess with the antiquated oven, allowing us to have a hot meal in seconds – minutes at the most…Yeah, you know you’ve gotten antsy waiting for the microwave.

We don’t like to wait. We don’t like silence. We don’t like being still. We don’t like lines.

And the TSA put us in one.

I truly believe with all of my heart that after 9/11, everyone was so scared that most people would have done ANYTHING “The Man” told them to do, as long as it made them feel better. As long as it seemed like he had a plan and knew what he was doing, that was good enough for us.

It meant longer lines and some headaches, but we pretty much got used to it. Now, we have the lines and the waits that we’re used to…and, now, after that, rather than the relief of just getting through security and getting on our plane, we have to go through a full-body X-ray? And if we don’t do that, we get the pat-down? (And for the record, the whole “I don’t want people grabbing my junk” thing is kinda cute, but I thought…”How bad can it be?“ Well, I’ve seen a few of the pat-downs…the last two I saw were on very elderly ladies – one in a wheelchair. And they grabbed ALL the junk. Sorry to be gross, but the junk stuff is f’real.)

Well…all that waiting, over and above the waiting that we’d learned to live with, is just too much. The X-ray and pat-down at the end? Out of the question.

So, this is a rebellion against waiting. We’re spoiled.

And then I felt kidna snarky and self-important because I’d thought of this.

But I felt kinda sad, too. I sure wish the whole thing was over something more “noble”.

And then….the big thought hit me…

This is about waiting…this is about us being spoiled…but I’ve always thought that “The Man” made us spoiled. Sure, we took the bait and, ultimately, made the decision ourselves. But, the Man WANTS us spoiled.

Why, you ask? Because we’re quiet when we’re happy.

Our entire system is set up on the basic concept that what we have isn’t enough. Not good enough, not big enough, not shiny enough, not fast enough….not enough. And we’re not enough if we don’t have the next thing.

So we chase it. And, usually, we get it.

Want – Get – Repeat.

That’s the American dream, right?

So…while we’ve bought into this thing the whole time, of being pacified…chasing the golden ring…we’ve kept our mind off of what matters.

Government corruption? What are we gonna do about that????

Government messing with my money? What are we gonna do about that???

Government messing with my rights? What can I do????

Injustice? Oppression? What difference can I make???

As the character Howard Beale in the great movie “Network” said, it’s as if we’re all saying, “Just leave me alone…at least leave me alone in my own home…let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials!”

Let me at least do my own thing at home! The world is messed up…it’s big, it’s bad, it’s scary and there’s a lot of wrong stuff. But what can I do?

I don’t think people are wrong for thinking that. What else are we to think?

So, let’s entertain ourselves instead. Get more, do more, blah-blah-blah. “Here we are now…entertain us.”

And that worked for a good long time.

Until the “The Man” went and messed with what we thought he couldn’t….our free time. Where we go and how long it takes to get there.

Gotta wait??? I don’t wanna wait!!!!

By keeping us spoiled, “The Man” kept our eyes, ears, and – most of all – our ACTIONS, diverted from things that really matter. Things that we should have been shouting about.

But I’m not sure “The Man” expected this…I don’t think WE expected this. I think the people raising a fuss over this are surprised themselves.

The robots have awakened and realized that they don’t like being robots. They’re turning on the manufacturer…

And what remains to be seen is, will this continue? Will we keep pushing back? Will we tire of the novelty of it and give up the fight?

Will this fight somehow awaken us to what’s been happening….and REALLY get us ticked off?? Lord, I hope so…

Post-Script: For the record, I don’t think the government intentionally oppressed us through the TSA buffoonery. I do think the government has done plenty of OTHER, completely-intentional oppression, etc., though. But that’s a different rant for a different day. I think this one was pretty much an accident. Just like I think it was pretty much a surprise to us that it pissed us all off so badly. I think it was just the one tiny thing that fell through the cracks and ended up being the completely unforeseen and unexpected straw that broke the camel’s back.

Post-Post-Script: For what it’s worth, I also completely think that this is exactly what the terrorists wanted….to see us completely encumber ourselves with even more completely meaningless and unnecessary, yet TOTALLY self-imposed, hoops to jump through. I believe that’s what most of our life and society has become. Yes, I do. And yes, I think Osama and his buddies are rolling in laughter in their caves when they see all this on the TV.

Next episode: Maybe we should talk some more about all those “completely meaningless and unnecessary, yet TOTALLY self-imposed, hoops” that we jump through. Yeah, they’re ruining this thing we call life.

Thanks for reading :-) Discussion is encouraged…

2 comments:

  1. I do believe that this conversation would be best held over coffee. With that said, I was re-reading "The Shack" today, and thought I'd include a quote that particularly stuck out to me for whatever it's worth:

    (Jesus speaking to Mack) "Mack, the world is what it is. Institutions, systems, ideologies, and all the vain, futile efforts of humanity that go with them are everywhere, and interaction with all of it is unavoidable. But I can give you freedom to overcome any system of power in which you find yourself, be it religious, economic, social, or political. You will grow in freedom to be inside or outside all kinds of systems and to move freely between and among them. Together, you and I can be in it and not of it." (pg. 181)

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  2. Dude, that's perfect. And, next time you're around, let me know. We should get coffee and have that conversation!

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