…Don’t watch TV. Don’t even watch TV news clips on Youtube, if you value your sanity.
After watching some coverage of the manhunt — the ludicrously ill-managed and foolish manhunt — for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, I was neck-deep in the Slough of Despond about my fellow Amurricans. Considering learning modern Icelandic — I did the mediaeval version some years ago — and moving there. Hot springs! Tall capable blondes! Debt renunciation! What’s not to like?
Why, if I still had a little boat, I could practically sail there, given a good stretch of weather.
I have never been a big flag-waver, and never felt that Amurricans were better or smarter or more industrious or superior, really, in any other way, to the denizens of other lands, but then, on the other hand, I always sorta thought we probably weren’t much worse. I mean, consider the Germans. Bygones and all that, but facts are facts, and it’s not quite ancient history. Not to mention more recent horrors, like Angela Merkel and the Bundesbank, and those awful barking tourists you can’t get away from in Italy.
I have some very smug expat friends who never tire of telling me how much better ‘European social democracy’ is than the tooth-and-claw setup we have here. (Never mind that European social democracy every day gets more like what we have here. As Zeno pointed out a long time ago, there’s no such thing as motion; only position. Liberals are, it seems, great admirers of Zeno.)
Oh, and how much better educated Yurrupeans are than we are, and how the beer is so much better, and so on.
Now the news coverage of the Boston Follies didn’t make me like Yurrup — that mythical land — any more (or any less). But it really tempted me to like my own country a lot less.
Turns out things aren’t quite so bad — though needless to say, they’re bad enough. Interesting item in the Times today — yes, wiseacre, I occasionally dip into the Times. So sue me. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, as somebody said.
Polls Show Growing Resolve to Live With Terror Threat
Public opinion surveys conducted since the bombings last week at the Boston Marathon indicate that most Americans — while convinced future attacks are quite likely — don’t feel personally threatened by terrorism, and an increasing share of the public is skeptical about sacrificing personal freedoms for security.
The headline, of course, is pure NY Times blockheaddery: terror threat, my ass. By any rational standard, we ought to be a lot more frightened of SUVs than terrorists. And ‘resolve’ is idiotic too; if you read the story, what it shows is more like indifference. Been there, done that, excite me with something new now.
And the numbers too are rather a mixed picture: 70% were still, according to the story, ‘concerned about the possibility of more major terrorist attacks’. But then, who knows how the question was actually framed, or contextualized, and even this summary title contains more weasel words than there are weasels in the Black Forest. In Germany.
Otherwise, it’s fairly good news — not deliriously good, just fairly good. Short piece, worth a glance and some rumination. I’d enjoy hearing how others read this particular swill of sodden tea-leaves.