Can I see some ID

By Michael J. Smith on Thursday September 13, 2012 11:01 PM

I am fortunate in my offspring: among others, I have a charming and astute daughter, who is 19 years old, and therefore past the worst of adolescence, but still young enough to be un-inured to the established follies and absurdities of our world. She's very good company, and we have delightful conversations. Delightful to me, anyway; dunno what she thinks.

She has recently begun to encounter the great 'ID' labyrinth. She would like to get a learner's permit, and someday a driver's license -- being a Manhattan kid, she's behind the curve on this stuff, and a good thing too. And she's landed a job at a day care center, which requires her to be... fingerprinted!

It's next to impossible to figure out what we need to bring to the DMV for the learner's permit. We hope that a passport -- man, that was a story, let me tell you -- plus a Social Security card and a birth certificate will do the job, but really, who knows? DMV apparently wants to keep us in suspense, until we show up at the window, and they can take their leisurely sadistic pleasure in putting us through hoop after hoop and finally telling us to come back next week with a gram and a half of red Kryptonite.

My daughter, sensible girl, understands how silly this sort of thing is. I happened to mention to her today that the Nineleven(tm) hijackers all had perfectly good ID, and she laughed and laughed. Very gratifying.

But I know plenty of other people who love showing ID -- who produce it eagerly, with a grovelling smile for the petty functionary who demands it.

I don't think this is about feeling safe. I think it's about feeling that you're on the right side of the fence -- the one with most of the guns. It exhibits a kind of identification with the cop or the poor schlub at the little desk "doing security", as the inspired phrase has it. Because of course 'security' in our world is not a state of being; it's a rite, a liturgy in the etymological sense, a celebration, affirmation, cementation of ... something; what? We don't merely put up with it because we reason that it will make us safer; we get into the spirit of the thing. We consume it; we often seem to enjoy it.

One has of course known lots of people who take a positive pleasure in being law-abiding -- cyclists who always obey stop lights, signal all their turns, and the like, and clearly derive some psychic income from doing so. I suspect that they were people who did well in school and were highly thought of by their teachers; for whom the pattern of i-dotting and t-crossing has paid off and become habitual and reassuring.

The enthusiasm for 'doing security', on the part of the people to whom security is done, may be connected with this phenomenon but seems to go beyond it. I get a whiff of some unspoken collective project -- the enthuisiastic construction of some horrible Leviathan, like that famous nightmarish frontispiece to Hobbes' eponymous book:

Comments (18)

anne shew:

hello pen k (i miss you lover , said the GIRRR l , born and still a .. .), just starting to read ,(i have some comments that may suggest more on why d. and i are the way we are of dealing with something of what you mention here in the papery kept , of why we are ,she drunk, and i sup er , but i need to go out ), of what michaelj. has written here.. but again need to go ..out , / michael , say hello to your daughter from me , i'm very ..liked .. with younger , the go between , of why my youthfully , there must be something in more than the drinking eau in this funky inner cabbagehog town funk / here listen to some potishead -strangers ..while i'm away .. . ,

anne shew:

another note from the tub, of cycling , no ,we pay attn to the lights because we care ,of not wanting to harm anyone ,no dotty i's , thoughts of davidly on this one .. .

anne shew:

i meant portis head not pot is , have a polish , and here ..with the methdalings (of part of hood, others .. )thing/ thinking filling my thoughts


Fight the power! Run red lights!

I look forward to the angry post about needing a bike liscence in new York after that lawsuit goes through.

I had to renew my passport a few years ago and went into the consulate, turned in my old one to have holes punched through it, and filled out the forms required for the new one, which I was told I could come back for in 4-6 weeks. For some reason, I just couldn't rouse myself to come back in 4-6 weeks to pass through all those metal detectors and one-way gates all over again... 6 weeks became 8 weeks, which became three months... eleven months.... N-months. And that was the only piece of official ID (beside 2 very old night club member-cards) I had, since I don't drive.

The longer I went without ID, the angrier I got about *needing* official ID... I worked myself into an Existential Rage about it and felt isolated among all my arty wacky outlier radical friends who, nevertheless, were carrying valid IDs and could not understand why I simply wouldn't go the fuck in and pick up the goddamned passport.

After two calls from the consulate, I finally went in and passed through the metal detectors and one-way gates and fetched the fucking thing about three days before they were obligated, by law, to destroy it.

I guess that makes me a prime candidate for subcutaneous chipping.

anne shew:

leont, here i have a sanpellegrino limonata cap here to button on the top of your fur'y hat , said back in to change here clothing from the rainy fence hop, i think that davidly and i are the only two here with the agility to run a red light safely , and i can fly .. .,aria ,said gentle shh


Via Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism: :

September 14, 2012

Dear Pace Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Monday, September 17 is the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. As a precautionary measure, NYPD will establish check points throughout Lower Manhattan. It is important that employees and students carry Pace ID cards in order to gain access through these checkpoints. Locations of the checkpoints are still to be determined.

Thank you for your cooperation.


Vincent Beatty
Director of Security [PACE University]

It wouldn’t even surprise me at this point if the policy is left in place after the 17th. And yeah, way, way too many - otherwise harmless people - have allowed this to come about, via everything from not being outraged at Apple’s iphone iris scans ( ), which technology, was of course immediately thereafter engaged in by the police against protestors ( (how quaint that it wasn’t brought up, in that linked piece, that Apple’s own iris scan technology allows those iris scan apps to work for the police )), ... to not questioning and refusing when police ask actual crime victims for their social security numbers when the suspected perp might be a police officer (happened to me, and I’m positive it’s happened to countless others who gave the data without even any questions asked, let alone refusal).


Anonymous declares war on surveillance systems

Surveillance systems everywhere may soon come under attack from the Anonymous collective.

“Worldwide governments are about to demolish Privacy with Systems like Trapwire and Indect,”says a post on Anon News...
your daughter may also want to take a piece of mail sent to her at current address.

hell, inundate them with paper.

this so-called security has gone too far unless the notion was to generate insecurity and promote belief in a regime of internal enemies as was done in Brasil.


Speaking of youthful minds

My darling. nYT blog Temptress CC Ramppull
Tells me
The under third over eighteen set are trending toward self identifying as
"lower class "

Signifigantly more so then in that fateful year 2008

40% ? ...sounds about right for once eh?

While there
Besides bowing to CC

Check out the lovely pareto distribution of amerikan personal income

Peter Ward:

I needed "six points" of ID just to switch to a New York license from another state. It took my birth certificate, SS card, credit card, insurance card and old license (and probably something else.) Fortunately I got to the DMV early so the whole process only took three hours.

But, yes, people do love der Pass. More so in Europe, I find. Here--being white--I've only ever been demand of ID by police when I was about to get a ticket. Whereas in Germany--at any rate--they'll stop anyone, in my experience (they also ticket for j-walking).... On the other hand I found my self in the "last dictatorship in Europe"--Belarus--without a visa and apart from not being able to leave the country until I went to Minsk and obtained one was able to travel freely (my attempt to "settle" my lack of visa at the border was rejected, by the way).


thanks op

yes, that 5yr jump in number of 18-29 yr olds who now see themselves as 'lower class' strikes me as significant, particularly since - from some of the sites i visit - there's noticeable increase group anger [and desire to organize] against govts and corps. 25 to 39 percent in that short a period says more than a bit about real conditions in the US econ [not just jobs and wages but large debts, forms of hopelessness and utopian desires. Nevertheless, some of these groupless groups have powerful cyber-gravity and are global.

'' the Greatest Generation posted an average debt of $38,043 and an average VantageScore of 829, while Baby Boomers posted an average debt of $101,951 and an average score of 782. In addition, Generation Xers posted an average debt of $111,121 and Generation Yers an average debt of $34,765.''

[NB - the above does not include mortgage debt -- the one below does -

well, lost second part of post but that 'pareto' curve definitely indicates real market concentration so also negative overall econ consequence[s] running ahead.


Thanx for noticing juan

The stone often just keeps dropping

The splash is so re assuring

Even if it's by one of the fabulously chewy
Site furies

PS Did you find the actual text of Leviathan to be a let-down after the title had set up graphic shop in your imagination for so long before you'd actually been forced to read it? A little like sitting through Goldfinger after the spectacular title sequence.


It's a mighty chewy book, which I haven't cracked open in years and years. A locus classicus, of course, but somehow never made a huge *impression* on me -- I sorta filed it away under 'that's where to go for *that*'. Probably a great injustice to the book, and I'm sure I'd like it more if I read it now.

But I have a great kindness for Hobbes himself; his translations of Homer are really awfully good; and at the end of the day I love everybody who made his way on one side or the other, or from one side to the other, through the English civil war.

Sometimes I think I'm just a complete slut for the 17th century: all I have to do is see a date that starts with 16xx and I go all weak in the knees.


Hobbes writes in wondrous ways

Always worth a dip into


Let down?

Only if one brings very little to the task

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