Heir Show

Hey, guys, it’s Meg again. Sorry it’s been so long. Steve’s still gone, and things have been just crazy at the office. Take today for example…

Usually, I am quite thankful for the view here at BuzzFlash HQ. Metra trains chug by regularly and we can see greenery as well as a partially obscured view of downtown Chicago from our sunny office windows. Even watching the expressway can be entertaining, especially when traffic slows to an unenviable crawl.

Today, however, I’d give it all back for a quiet bunker in an undisclosed location. Our expansive windows are playing host to a near constant parade of aircraft streaming into the city for the Chicago Air and Water Show this weekend.

Most people would love this air-conditioned preview of North Beach’s weekend festivities on a Thursday afternoon during work. But the sound of metal ripping though air sounds much too much like fighter pilots and incoming explosives to a paranoiac like me.

I know I am the minority in this, at least in the United States. If faced with the situation I was confronted with at work today, the majority of Americans would first wonder, “Hmm… is there an air show going on this weekend?” and not, “Is my fair city about to be reduced to smoldering rubble?”

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an overreaction. But I remember watching the faces of Guatamaltecos turn white as sheets whenever they heard a helicopter in the distance. Sure, they lived through a 30-year civil war (one encouraged and perpetuated by our own government, incidentally), which involved armed men jumping from helicopters and kidnapping innocent citizens. That’s probably enough to make anyone a little cagey.

Unfortunately, you can see that look on the faces of millions all around the world. It made me realize what a truly privileged citizenry we are. Not for the wealth and convenience we have as citizens of the United States, but for the war wounds that we don’t have.

Air raids, invasions, and bombings are absolutely foreign to most of us. Especially my generation. I mean, we didn’t even have to crouch under our desks, armed only with the lie that the fetal position and wooden planks would protect us from a nuclear attack. We can’t imagine aircraft carriers charging into San Francisco Bay. The notion of an occupying force patrolling our street (yes, that one that we live on) is entirely alien to us. The deliberate toppling of the Washington Monument by a foreign government is inconceivable heresy.

So I can’t help but wonder what’s making me so jumpy. And am I the only one?

8 Responses to “Heir Show”

  1. MikeH Says:

    There is always the assumption that we are, of course, the good guys, and that whatever we do is good and wonderful. The sounds from air shows have even been described as “the sound of freedom”.

    I live very close to the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, formerly the Miramar Naval Air Station, in San Diego, and they have been having an air show every year for years. We can always hear the sound of the aircraft, and often see them in the sky. One year I went into the base to see the air show. We see the aircraft performing their acrobatics, and it is always considered to be something that is nice for the public to see.

    Many years ago I worked as a Civil Service employee at an Air Force base, and during one of their air shows for an open house one of my co-workers, whom I was riding with to and from work, commented that instead of spending all that money on fuel for air shows, it would be nice if they gave us a nickel raise.

    It has always been considered nice to see air shows by our military, so we can see what they are capable of doing.

    After our actions in Iraq, in particular, it now seems obscene to call the noise from air shows “the sound of freedom”.

  2. VettaKing Says:

    But if we didn’t have air shows we wouldn’t have those awesome videos of flaming aircraft careening into crowds of spectators that we can now see on every “Amazing” or “Incredible” video clip show that airs on television.

  3. Again Says:

    wow, Meg

    what a great post!

    So I can’t help but wonder what’s making me so jumpy.

    that is easy to answer: intelligence, imagination, empathy

    because - honestly…

    Russia against Georgia - a war, just some days old - USA against Iraq, a war, some years old - Africa, Asia - regions of permanent wars…

    thousands and thousands and thousands of people in constant fear….

    We can’t imagine aircraft carriers charging into San Francisco Bay.

    as the Romans could not imagine, as the Beijingers could not imagine, as the Berliners could not imagine…

    war is like cancer - if you don’t fight it, it will eat you up…


    even shiny weapons are made just for one thing: to kill, destroy and maim - no matter, if the victims are just children in a wedding party - or hard working people in offices …

    you demonstrate “unfrozen thinking”, not controlled by thought leaders, TV, mass hysteria - brain at work!

  4. juliinjax Says:

    So true, Meg. As Americans, we have been blessed by no major military conflicts on our soil since the Civil War. But this blessing is also a curse, in that it envelopes us in a blanket of ignorance as to the reality of war for millions all over the globe. It’s why our soldiers returning home from war zones feel so isolated and so loyal to each other: no one else understands what they have experienced and what they continue to deal with once they are “out of harm’s way”.

    Perhaps our ignorance of the realities of life in a war zone makes us more vulnerable to being preyed upon with fears of the unknown. We think we can arm ourselves with weapons in our homes to protect from home invasions, while our Gummint reassures us that through surveillance and other abuses of our civil liberties, THEY are keeping us SAFE from terrorist attacks. Many people still buy this bill of goods in exchange for the Bill of Rights.

    Mike’s point about what we are willing to label ’sounds of freedom’ is just another example of this ignorance. We mock the Chinese people for not knowing anything about Tank Man at Tiananmen Square, and yet most of our own citizens know nothing about our current (B)administration’s ties to the Oil and Weapons industries. Freedom from reality is not something to celebrate.

  5. Fat Hubie Says:

    You are nervous because you don’t have a way of dealing with civil rights abusers. Liberals with guns are the future of democracy.

  6. Again Says:

    “The History of Greenland” by David Cranz, p. 164, quoted by Herbert Spencer, “The Principles of Sociology”, p. 319

    “He who has the last word wins the trial”

    (full quote: “He who has the last word wins the trial, and obtains thenceforward a reputable name. An opportunity is here offered of telling very plain and cutting truths, but there must be no mixture of rudeness or passion. The assembled spectators decide the victory, and the parties are in future the best friends”)

    clever people, those Greenlanders, huh?? Especially when you consider the first sentence of the paragraph, p. 319: “The Greenlanders are entirely without political control”

    i once met persons of Iceland - at university - was so impressed. If you ever want to know how humans should be - visit Iceland. Ok, it surely will have changed since then….

    Fat Hubie

    Liberals with guns are the future of democracy

    the world will be glad to read posts like that, everyone loves to be affirmed


    nice nickname ;-)

  7. Again Says:

    and now for something completely different ;-)

    The Psychology of the Undecided Voter
    “Now a new study examining the psychology of the undecided voter suggests the candidates and their campaigns may be wasting their time and money…
    He adds that while the people in the study genuinely believed they were undecided on the issue, at a subconscious level many appeared to have biases that ended up predicting their eventual positions.”

    better use biases - it works!

    “Psychologists say the research raises intriguing questions about how well people know their own minds. The short answer, they say, is “not very well.”…

    Gawronski’s team has found that politicians can sometimes end up subconsciously associated in voters’ minds with the negative images and feelings used in the attack ads”

    ads decide, not arguments…

    but there is still some hope

    “…it may be much more effective to focus on your base by registering as many people as you can and getting them to vote on Election Day.” (The Psychology of the Undecided Voter)

  8. Again Says:

    oooops - second link was Think you’re undecided? Think again

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