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Electronic Americans
April 9, 2003
By Leilla Matsui

The word "robot," according to one joke making the Internet rounds, is no longer acceptable. From now on, robots should be considered "Electronic Americans." In keeping with the spirit of these socially incindiary times, I will henceforth refer to this particular demographic of former humanoid Republicans as EA's. I'm less afraid of giving offense than I fear for my physical well-being. EA's are very sensitive. Give-them-a-flagpole-and-they'll-tear-you-a-new-you-know-what-with-it kind of sensitive.

EA's, though, prefer to call themselves "75ers." A 75er, according to them, is someone who counts his or herself among the majority of Americans who support the Bush-led invasion of Iraq. For what it's worth, a "55er" belongs to that elite corps of EA's, percentage-wise, who believe that Saddam Hussein himself was personally responsible for what British comedian Ali G describes as "the horrible events of 7-11." A 55er, in other words, plays dumber to a 75er's just plain dumb.

EA's on either side of the stupid divide draw a large measure of comfort in being perceived as a majority. Knowing how they feel about minorities, it only follows that they gather strength from the lynch-mob mentality of their own artificially inflated numbers.

For the most part, EA's don't look much different than you and me - only whiter, less brighter and more likely to get their news from the Fox News Network. EA's, contrary to popular belief, were not artificially conceived in some secret, off-shore Sony lab but rather programmed here at home.

How much easier it would be if, say, they all dressed in rented gorilla suits with metal buckets on their heads like the unpaid extras in an Ed Wood movie. Unfortunately, they don't always wear baseball caps or little flags on their lapels, either. Again, they are just as likely to wear Brooks Brothers as they are to listen to Garth Brooks.

EA's are generally recognizable by their propensity to recite ad nauseum every absurdity being spun by the corporate led media currently embedded in the White House.

In all fairness, EA's, can just as easily be found among the so-called "liberal elite." Liberal, that is, on the kind of softcore social issues that the Oxygen channel deems fit for soccer moms, but otherwise hawkish on foreign affairs. CNN's Aaron Brown, following the example of The Simpsons smug and droning Reverend Lovejoy, heads the pack of EA theologians delivering the news. The reverent Mr. Brown speaks for that kinder, gentler demographic of Judeo/Christian footsoldiers, cheering on the genocide in Iraq.

For the majority of EA's though, Divinity Studies, or at least higher learning, is comprised of the three R's of Rumsfeld, O'Reilly and Rush. For Ann Coulter, it's the rubber-walled institution where she graduated Magna Cum Estee Lauder.

Ivy-league EA's are more likely to quote the undead, mostly white males who dominate the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today then they are to dust off a volume from the Canon of Western Civilization. The ones who might have actually read something from it, obviously snoozed through the bits where the hubris and folly of a corrupt administration ushered in the end of an Empire.

When they're not napping in their Ivory Snow towers, op-ed EA's collaborate with the administration to obfuscate meaning in purposefully misleading but important sounding phrases, stooping even to co-opt Bart Simpson with the desperate-sounding "surrender monkey." Luckily for them, EA's have a passive tendency to accept anything and everything that is deemed fit to print without challenging or even examining the accuracy of such oft-repeated phrases imbedded in the fine print.

The following are just a few examples of the phrases EA's are programmed to recognize and repeat verbatim followed by the definitions they are incapable of grasping, thanks to recent technological advancements:

a failure of diplomacy - to describe the Bush administration's repeated sabotage of the inspection process they knew would only yield Palaces of Mass Decoration as opposed to Weapons of Mass Destruction; what Noam Chomsky described as "a failure of coercion" on the part of the US to bring the UN into line with its Messianic mission to liberate the Muslim hordes from their own resources.

a coalition of the willing - otherwise known as "check book diplomacy" or what happens when coercion fails and you have to start waving money around. If you happen to be the president of South Korea it means choosing between what is morally wrong or risking almost certain nuclear annihilation at the hands of your trigger-happy neighbors in the North.

allied forces - unlike the first Gulf War when the US succeeded in mobilizing the world community to create a multilateral force to do its bidding, the allied forces in italics here are the US, Britain and a dozen or so Australians. When that fails to impress, they'll also bring up that one cleaning crew from Krakow - the crown jewel of international cooperation. EA observers of the Arab media take exception to what al-Jazeera et al term "invading" as opposed to "allied" forces, citing this as yet more proof of inflammatory rhetoric from the flaming turbans at Mosque Central.

the irrelevancy of the UN - the irrelevancy, in other words, of countries outside Planet USA and its orbiting satellite, the UK.

supporting the troops - what EA's claim to do when they applaud the administration's decision to send an expendable force of mostly underprivileged youths to slaughter and be slaughtered in a country that poses no threat to the US or any of its former allies; the thing EA leadership claims they are doing as they cut veteran's benefits while rewarding billionaires with yet more tax breaks; the trite rallying cry of EA's everywhere whenever anti-war protests look like they're making inroads into public consciousness; the non-sequiter Hollywood activists have to tack on to their anti-war messages in order not to end up, ironically, like the C-list celebrities mostly unknown outside of their pro-war activities; those irrelevant and cash-strapped whoremongers hoping to resuscitate flat-lining careers any way they can.

embedded reporters - khaki-clad mascots who stand on the hoods of tanks waving the corporate logo of whatever news agency they happen to be working for. Occasionally, they climb off the tanks to report that they can't reveal their location and conveniently slouch off to the safety of the nearest trench when things get a little too bloody. For EA's this is journalism at its finest.

French cowards - what passes for humour among EA's who think its funny to mock and trivialize the millions of French people who perished in two world wars, dying alongside American soldiers for the very things les Americaines Electronique have been programmed to forget. For AE's, liberty doesn't ring any bells so it may be useless to remind them - the school children of the country who sent you the Statue of Liberty; the government and the people who put aside their shock and awe at your ignorance and dreadful table manners long enough to offer their heartfelt condolences on September 11th (yes, I happened to be there that day and witnessed first hand so many gestures of kindness, unspeakable now as shame creeps into memory - shame for how we've rewarded them since); the democratically elected leaders who listen to the almost 90% of its citizenry who oppose this invasion because they know more than we ever will - the human toll of something worth dying for and can't imagine exacting the same toll for something that isn't.

When artificial intelligence turns on itself and starts thinking, it may be the time to reboot the "Saddam gassed his own people" program by repeating this phrase non-stop until your EA starts reciting it on his/her own.

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