Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Exploiting Fear and Paranoia

I took this photo today, as I just became so pissed off once again, even though this is an old story. We must never forgot just how much the public has been instilled with paranoia in these times. These ads are all over the New York City subways and have been for quite some time. They capture perfectly the Bush era exploitation of fear post-9/11, and why we so need to change direction this fall.

What they don't tell you in the ad is that none of these 1900-odd calls to the terror hotline in which people "saw something and said something" ever amounted to any credible threat of terrorism. According to The New York Times back in January, at least 11 of the calls reported suspicious Muslims counting the number of trains passing or the number of passengers boarding them or some other nefarious activity meant to figure out the number of casualties they could count on in a terrorist attack. In actuality, it turned out they were counting prayers -- in a similar way that Catholics use rosary beads -- with a clicking device that can be bought for five bucks in Islamic shops in Brooklyn.