June 25, 2002
By W. David Jenkins III
was a child of the '60s and it finally dawned on me what all
the warnings and threats and manufactured mayhem emanating
from Bush II and Co. remind me of. Just how many of you good
people remember "Lost in Space?" There we were as kids every
Wednesday night at 8 p.m. glued to the TV. The Robinson family,
Dr. Smith, the robot and some goofy monkey type thing named
It seems like every time we turn around, here comes another
warning of those dastardly terrorists! Whether the warnings
come from Rummy, Cheney, Ridge, Mueller or "Mr. Salty" himself,
I get the same picture in my head. That robot from "Lost in
Space" waving its "arms" while announcing,
"Warning! Warning! Aliens approaching! Danger, Will Robinson!"
So it seems that I can no longer hear these endless, precisely
scheduled rantings from the White House, or thereabout, (one
word) without shaking my head and laughing. Don't get me wrong,
I'm not trying to say there's no threat of further terrorist
attacks. I'm absolutely positive that as long as Bush The
Appointed and his gang continue to call various countries
"evil" or threaten first strikes in the name of defending
democracy that the threat will remain. But, come on already!
Really, just how long will it take before the fear mongers
in DeeCeeVille run out of things to name as "potential targets"
before we have to go back to the top of the list?
This weekend it was synagogues and other targets named specially
to infuriate our Jewish population. Then there were the Brooklyn
Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, compliments of the movie
"Godzilla." Somewhere in the middle, we were supposed to be
afraid of nuclear power plants as potential targets. Heck,
I was leery of those back in the '70s. I didn't need any "maybe
terrorism" to put those things on my list of things to be
Warning, warning! They're coming for the Golden Gate Bridge!
They're coming for the subways! They're trying to rent or
buy moving vans and ambulances! Watch out for the big trucks
and lobster boats! They've got anthrax, small pox, chicken
pox, hangnails and dandruff! They hate us because of our freedom!
They hate us because we can buy houses! They hate us because
we have express lanes at the grocery store! Fight back, Americans!
Go shopping but be careful because they hate us because we
have shopping malls! Be aware of that checkout person who
comments that the picture of George Washington on your one
dollar bill looks like Barbara Bush! She might be a terrorist!
But, whatever you do, don't pay attention to those leaks
that undermine our national security. So what if we've arrested
people without charge and won't let them talk to a lawyer?
So what if we arrest and suspend college graduates for turning
their backs to the "president?" So what if the Attorney General
is in Moscow discussing tactics concerning the "war" on terrorism?
So what if we're doing everything possible to make sure that
you have no idea what is really going on? Americans have more
important things to do to make this country strong! You people
need to... oh yeah, you people need to exercise!
That's right, you heard them correctly. That's this week's
version on how to keep America strong! Just how are you supposed
to maintain constant vigil on your neighbors' suspicious activities
if you're too busy gorging yourself in front of the TV? C'mon,
give good old George a "squat thrust" in his honor. Who cares
if he thinks he's Jack LaLanne this week? You have to admit
it's easier than watching him act like "Gilligan." Besides,
it'll give you something to do as you ponder next week's "target
I don't know about all of you, but it's become a kind of
guessing game for me and others. Like I said, how long before
they run out of things to scare us with? Think about it. We
have the big old July 4th weekend coming up. They're already
putting up security fences all over DeeCeeVille landmarks.
They have a little less than two weeks to have us all waving
the flag in celebration of our disappearing freedoms from
the safety of our basements.
There's another bit of media history that comes to mind amidst
all this mindlessness. Back in the late 1930s on the night
before Halloween, Orson Welles scared the crank shaft out
of the nation with a little program called "The War of the
Worlds." For those of you unfamiliar with this production,
it was a radio broadcast which depicted the invasion of the
East Coast by Martians. Many people hadn't heard the disclaimer
that it was only a play and many citizens became so terrified
that widespread panic in the streets ensued. Water towers
in New Jersey were shot at for fear they were the invaders
and many people had to be treated for shock and other injuries.
When they woke up the next morning they felt embarrassed and
more than a little angry for having been duped.
Well, I can't help but feel that we are currently experiencing
a combination of a constant airing of "The War of the Worlds"
while listening to the robot from "Lost in Space" broadcasting
warnings all over the place. With all of this fearmongering
and saber rattling going on, not to mention American citizens
being denied because John and George like to call them "hostile
combatants," I'm finding it difficult to find a reason to
celebrate the 4th of July.
Besides, I hear the terrorists hate us because we have backyard