Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Scandal-a-day - Our world is crashing, but nobody cares

A Lego rendering of the starship Bistromath.
I was recently asked why the American public seems so oblivious to the multiple stories in the news that ought to alarm them. And no, I am not talking about the ones on Justin Bieber's goal of riding into space. Although Americans ought to be alarmed that such is considered news.

No, I am referring to the ones such as this piece from Alabama that informs us roadblocks are now taking DNA samples from passersby. You'll note that just recently our Supreme Court ruled that such samples can be preserved on record by the authorities for longer than you might hope to preserve your own conscious state inside its current carbon-based habitation.

And this comes just at a time when it has been exposed that the federal government has made for itself a giant database of every phone call, email, text message, instant message, photo, video and audio file you're sending into the ether. And let's not forget your browsing history. Oh, you cleared your cache did you? Well, in case you erased a visit or two by accident, there's probably a pasty-faced 29-year-old Booz Allen drone who can call 'em back up for you.

But back to our question: Why no utter horror that IRS agents are grilling people over which way their politics swing? That members of the free press are painted poisoners of Moose and Squirrel? That store shelves are bare of hollow-points because the hollow-heads in D.C. bought 'em bargain basement to "save the taxpayer dime?"

It's a simple SEP.

Douglas Adams, in his book "Life, the Universe and Everything" from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series puts it plainly:

"An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. ... The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye."

In the book, the Starship Bistromath was sitting well in sight of a crowd watching a cricket match at Lord's. But seeing that a starship of any kind would never be expected to be located at Lord's, the cricket watchers ignored its presence entirely. To acknowledge it would force them to deal with it, and that would cause serious problems. Why was it there? Do its operators come in peace? Much easier to let it be someone else's problem.

With a daily onslaught of scandals and crises it becomes too much to handle. Maybe one or two might get some attention, but it can't possibly be true that all of this is happening in our giant web of Anytown U.S.A.'s. So we don't see it. It's all a big Bistromath.

Until they come for me it's just an SEP.

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