firm lanternlike jaws
Thursday, June 17 2004
The traffic controller who didn't notice the second hijacked airplane because he or she was too distracted by the first: I picture him or her as an overburdened God, looking down on a model world simulated with blinkenlights. He or she had the handicap of being human, of lacking the ability see all and know all. It's interesting how easily the 9-11 hijackers overwhelmed the American traffic control system, which, due its reliance on individual human beings, could be aware of only one renegade airplane at a time. Like the cicadas who come out of the ground every 17 years to overwhelm their predators, the hijackers succeeded in part because of the sheer number of simultaneous attacks. The number necessary to achieve this effect only needed to be greater than one. I wonder how many other systems protecting us from oblivion have such vulnerabilities. What would happen, for example, if terrorists managed to simultaneously attack the defences of a nuclear power plant using two different methods? These are the sorts of questions that need to be going through the minds of the people charged with homeland security. My fear, of course, is that the same kind of faith-based thinking that led to the Iraq debacle provides the intellectual model for Tom Ridge and his boys. Medieval thinking leads to medieval planning, which in turn can result in such embarrassments as grown men in Brooks Brothers suits running around like beheaded chickens when the excreta hits the fan.
After Spanish class today Gretchen and I drove to Rosendale and had our usual Rosendale lunch of tempeh reubens at the Rosendale Café. Then I dropped her off at the Rosendale bus station and she headed into the city.
I watched a Spanish language talk show on Univision hosted by a blonde transgendered woman (who had obviously once been a man). The topic today was whether or not a relative should donate an organ to a child in desperate need. I couldn't follow everything, but the dialogue and banter was so simple I did better than expected. The show had a Jerry Springersque over-the-top quality about it, but instead of fights breaking out between guests, proxy battles would be held between two teams of masked gimps dressed up as super heroes. One of them had an enormous gut and another was a dwarf. Audience members cheered and shouted as these goofy actors tugged and pushed on each other unconvincingly. A surprising number of audience members were transexuals and/or transvestites, many with lavish eyelashes distracting the eye from their firm lanternlike jaws. The existence of this show made me wonder if perhaps tolerance for transgendered people is greater in Latin America than it is in our nation, founded as it was by Puritans with such names as Hawthorne, Bradford, and Ashcroft.
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