Monday, October 8, 2007

Our (not so..?) Paranoid City


Last Year, 1,944 New Yorkers Saw Something And Said Something!

This poster, observed during my morning commute today, did not fill me with bon vivant humor and joie de vivre, although it did make me speak in cliched French phrases. What was I supposed to take from this message? That 1,944 New Yorkers averted a terrorist attack by spotting abandoned bombs sitting at the edge of subway platforms, and reporting them obediently? Is this scary or not? And what about those who didn't see and didn't say?

It is my feeling that this poster was attempting a bit of gentle chastisement of these folk, much like a dowdy schoolmarm urging children to use the potty. "Nah, I won't report that bomb today, because I am apathetic." Grade: F! "I think I will report that swarthy-looking furriner, who looks somewhat like an A-rab." Grade: A+! Next time, do your duty, and report it!

Here is a record of just a few of these seen/said events in the past year.

SEEN
January 5, 2007: Some really unattractive shoes.
SAID
Um...not so much.

SEEN
February 14, 2007: Waterboarding, head slapping, and exposure to extreme cold.
SAID
Hey, look at that extinct emu flying past the window! What shackles? I don't see any shackles.

SEEN
October 3, 2007: 10 million low-income children seeking healthcare.
SAID
Aw, fuck the little brats.

Addendum: I can't finish this post at present; there are some swarthy-looking gentlemen of another race walking down my street. What is the number I am supposed to call to report this sort of thing?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Partay Ponay:

I think you're supposed to call that nice Mr. Rumsfeld. Ur, uh, no, I guess he's stepped out for a bit. Scooter Libby? Whoops! No...Johnny Bolton? Not so much. That delightful Karl Rove? No, I guess he's done for. Paul Wolfowitz? Urp, no, he's gone on to glory at the World Bank...or rather, had to resign for some high-handed behavior. Jumping Jimminy! I dunno who you call now! Barney? Laura? Jenna? Dave Addington at the VP's office? That nice Mr. Cheney hisself(who can so shoot straight, he just doesn't understand gun control, darn it!)? Aw, just grapple 'em down yerself, and then go shopping as we are commanded by the Decider!

Yrs,
Mr. Magic,
Through-the-Looking-Glass
Freedom, NH (sometimes)

Anonymous said...

Too bad people didn't "say something" before the 2004 bombings of the train system in Madrid.

Almost 200 people died and thousands were injured.

Then again, maybe I'm just being an alarmist.

Jenny Phresh said...

Goodness, now you have depressed me. If there's something to see/say, then say it, people, like this good person says!

Anonymous said...

I've got to add a personal experience here—the other day I was on a crowded #6 train during Rush Hour and was genuinely scared for the first time. Imagine this scene: You squeeze your way onto a car that's packed a** to elbow only to find yourself standing next to a large Muslim woman who is clearly as obese as she is devout. She is clutching a large black bag to her prominent midriff as she stands there with her eyes closed. Not much you can do at that moment except hope that she's genuinely rotund, sleepy, and carrying luggage for a weekend excursion to East Hampton. Well, turns out she was a lot closer to the Michelin Man than Osama. You can imagine my relief to get off the train that morning. I said nothing. What could I have done? And who here among us wouldn't have thought what I was thinking?

Jenny Phresh said...

This is the exact nature of the problem with this campaign, while well-intentioned. Most of what we "see" is vaguely suspicious, like a seemingly "pregnant" Muslim woman with shifty eyes who might just be suffering from indigestion and is actually 8 months pregnant, not bomb-laden. But that just makes us feel paranoid and bigoted. Indeed, who would report it? Maybe that's why the 1,944 figure is actually so low.

Anonymous said...

Funny how loose lips used to sink ships. Now we're being asked to do the opposite. Start flapping those gums ASAP. Don't be shy. J'accuse!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it was one really, really paranoid person who reported 1,944 times.

Anonymous said...

Future related MTA ads:

"Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something. Also, 28 New Yorkers saw nothing and said something anyway."

"Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and remembered that if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all."

"Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers saw something, then totally forgot."

"Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers saw something, then yelled, 'Allah, ahkbar!'"

"Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers smelt it and, most likely, dealt it."

"Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers packed into a single subway car on the F train without a/c on the hottest day of the year instead of the usual 3,000."

"Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers had to swipe their *&^&*@^*#! farecards what felt like 1,944 times just to get the *&^*&^*&! turnstile to work."

Jenny Phresh said...

Hey, anonymous poster # 8...you'd better start taking credit for your clever comments. Choose a blogger identity (PutnamDILF? or MILROMan?) and get the glory!

Anonymous said...

Last year, 1,944 New Yorkers saw the conductor's crack while he bent down and said something. Their exact words: "KRAKATOA!"

Anonymous said...

Update: Jamal Zougam, Othman Gnaoui and Emilio Suarez Trashorras were convicted of murder earlier today in the Madrid bombings and received prison sentences ranging from 34,000 to 43,000 years.

By all means, if you see something, please say something.

Anonymous said...

How about this—if you see something about saying something, go ahead and say something.