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The Tally Ho

Monday, September 11, 2006

Disaster in Chicago?

Not really. There was an evacuation drill last Thursday in the Loop, the same day Bush made a speech --AGAIN-- about how prepared our nation is and how we're ready for whatever threat may come, yadda yadda. Our Girl Reporter, who talked to a man on the scene, said it was all fairly tame; there were only three buildings being evacuated, not the entire Loop, and the workers set up comfort areas right outside the evacuation zone, instead of marching the volunteer "incident victims" two miles west from the scene. Conscripted office workers got the job done and still had plenty of time to snark, snack, and slack. But from my office three miles away, the whole thing looked pretty damn impressive: five or six helicopters were hovering amongst the skyscrapers, traffic patterns were bizarre. Yes sir, my city government knows how to cause a stir! I was more impressed several weeks ago by the Blue Line derailment and subsequent evacuation of lots of cranky train riders, which was a slow, painful, and haphazard process, but very safe. Lots of people missed work or missed their planes. No one died of smoke inhalation. All up and down my Blue Line there are service delays and rail improvements now, to avoid such a circumstance happening again. But we didn't get handy blue "ready.gov" backpacks when there was a real evacuation, so what do I know?

In the LA Times, Leo Braudy is asking whether Jack Bauer is replacing James Bond in our national consciousness. Gosh, I hope not. Usually the LA Times is fairly good at calling the government and the media on their shit, but the opinion writer is mostly on board with Jack: "Bauer ... is constantly on the brink of being destroyed, only to rise like a phoenix, coming back from one seeming deadly catastrophe after another, bruised, battered but still going. If he has any pop-cultural predecessors, they are the heroes of 1930s serials, when the hero was always in dire straits at the end of every episode but lived to be heroic again." I don't buy it; I see Jack Bauer as an advertisement for fascism. He's fighting the bad guys! We just have to trust him! because there's no time to hold an election and civilians are gullible sheep anyway! The show is meant to get a viewer's adrenaline up with all its guns and ticking bombs, then while we're still wired they sit us down for the moral lesson that we just have to trust the G-men, and they're just like us only smarter. I'm a product of the Cold War; I'll take a womanizing vodka-swilling bad boy in an Aston Martin any day of the week. If the citizens want to form opinions about reality, they should read the news instead of watching commercial television drama.

That's it; I'm tempted to sit here and watch the RSS feed bloom with everyone's five-year posts (aren't you planning to write one?) but I must get back to that other reality.


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