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THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
Peek-A-Boo

Peek-A-Boo with Duct Tape

by TOM WELLS

I’m not sure what was weirder — them suggesting Duct Tape and plastic; them expecting people to buy into it; people actually buying into it; or the press not going apeshit over how stupid this was, so…..here’s my take.

The more I thought about the Duct Tape Terror Alert Fiasco, the more I realized, we are in some deep shit in this country of ours. Well, it used to be ours, but you get my drift. I equated the whole Duct Tape deal to playing “peek-a-boo” with my girls when they were infants. You know the game — they can’t be seen if they have their hands over their eyes.

Tom Ridge at Homeland Security and John Ashcroft at Justice (sic) may give that a try next. I can just see Ridge and Ashcroft, solemn and grave as funeral home directors after a local five-car pile-up, informing the American public during Sweeps Week, perhaps breaking in during “Friends” with one of those, “We interrupt this program to bring you a breaking news bulletin.” In my mind, it plays out like this.

A camera pans in to Attorney General John Ashcroft who clears his throat and begins, “Please remain calm, but we must tell you, the American people, that based on the information we just obtained from a half-page research paper by a junior high student in Frisco, Texas, Mr. Ridge and I have no choice but to bump the terror alert up to red.” Slipping on a red sweater with shiny gold buttons, he turns to Tom Ridge and nods. “Mr. Ridge.”

Ridge grabs the mike and says, “That is right Mr. Attorney-General, the terror alert is now as red as a Doberman’s dick when he’s got that right back leg really cranking.”

Ashcroft shakes his head in holy-disgust, but asks anyway. “What suggestion do you and the Homeland Security Office have for the American people?”

Ridge grimaces knowing he’s screwed up in front of his boss, the U.$. Ayatollah, but regroups and says, “After consulting all of our terrorism experts and the 8th grader from Frisco, we agree that all American citizens should immediately place their hands over their eyes so the real terrorists like Osama and his band of Queda’s won’t be able to see them. If the terrorists can’t see you, what are they going to do? Nothing! That’s what.”

Ridge demonstrates by placing both hands over his eyes, saying, “Like so.” Spreading his fingers, he turns his head and peeks to his left. Ashcroft joins him.

The journalists present appear to be in competition to see whose jaw can drop the fartherest. Helen Thomas appears to win the first round as hers is resting on the tops of her comfortable, black lace-ups.

Ridge continues, “That’s right, America. Please place your hands over your eyes and keep them there until this Red Terror Alert ends.” Pausing, he glances at Ashcroft, who has formed both hands into fists and is moving them up and down in front of his chest.

Ridge looks puzzled and from the podium gives him a palms up, WTF expression.

Ashcroft continues to air-drive his imaginary car, and adds in a few car sounds, “Brmmm, vroom, vroom”.

A light dawns on Ridge and he makes one final comment. “Oh yeah, be sure and keep your hands over your eyes except when you are driving.” Smiling, he nods his head up and down, smug in the knowledge that he has ridden to America’s rescue once again.

With that, Ridge steps away from the podium, giving the reporters and Ashcroft two thumbs up. Ashcroft hands Ridge a red sweater.

Sheriff Bunny Pants smirks in the wings proud of his two henchmen, shaking his head, then moves his hands to cover his eyes.

TOM WELLS can be reached at: tomwells@schreiner.edu