[stextbox id=”info” caption=”Listen to This”]”You’re fascinated by the gory details! You’re mesmerized by your own fear. You revel in floods, car accidents, unstoppable diseases. You’re happiest when others are in pain. That’s where I come in isn’t it? I’m here to lead you by the hand through the dark forest of your own hatred and anger and humiliation!” ~Talk Radio[/stextbox]Abby and I were watching Friends on Nick at Night recently, the episode in which Matt LaBlanc’s character Joey meets an actress with whom he is performing, Kate, played by Dina Meyer. They greet each other, and Kate’s line is to ask Joey, “Are you one of the retarded cousins?” The joke is that her initial impression of Joey is that he is an idiot. Ha ha.
That’s not what was on Nick at Night. The word “retarded” was blanked out. “Are you one of the ___ cousins?” The laughter from the studio audience wasn’t blanked out, so unless you have a nearly-eidetic memory like mine, the exchange didn’t even really make sense.
I’m sure the censorship was voluntary, at least technically. But it disturbs me that a simple joke in 1996 becomes a toxic insult in 2013. We certainly have lost our sense of humor, even if some of our sense of humor was a bit cruel.
Okay, now on to Boston. I write this after a series of tragic events unfolded in Robert Stinson’s former neighborhood in Boston that started with the two “terrorist” bombs exploding at the finish line at the Boston Marathon, and culminated with an unprecedented manhunt involving the might of entire metropolitan police departments in addition to as many as 9000 additional police from agencies like the FBI, ATF, state police, and more.
On the phone the other day, Robert talked about how disturbing and oddly empowering it was to describe the criminals involved as “terrorists.” While I agree with that as a valid analysis of the mind state of Americans when it comes to tragic crimes, particularly as portrayed by the media, in my mind there is a bigger issue: big government. Doesn’t it trouble anyone else that the very opponents of “big government” are often the first ones to call upon it for help, either in the form of invasions of nations like Afghanistan or Iraq, or when the people (certain bloggers and vloggers like to call them “sheeple”) are a bunch of frightened rabbits?
Americans are falling in love with the feeling of safety, and that is always at the cost of freedom. Ironically, they are in love with their fear as well. The entirety of metropolitan Boston was locked down for nearly a day, which to any open mind could only be described as a police state. When the perpetrator was finally apprehended (one 19-year-old man), crowds cheered police with cries of “USA! USA! USA!”, not realizing or caring that the “terrorists” were both United States citizens.
The average citizen is neither courageous nor perceptive. He needs a higher power to care for him, both in the form of a “mother,” government, and a “father,” god. People seem more like children to me with each passing day.