Monday, January 09, 2006

Too Many Bad Movies And TV Shows


There are three primary ways we learn things. Auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Most people use a combination of these methods, but one is usually dominant. Personally, I am a heavily visual thinker and learner with a photographic memory that got me through the dreaded California Bar Exam. As a visual/kinesthetic learner, it is difficult for me to grasp something if I cannot visualize it.

In order to visualize something new, visual learners typically compare the new data to things we already know. We search our brain databases for analogous situations, combing through the places we have been, the people we have known, the books we have read and movies we have seen. Once a match is made, the new information can be added with ease.

Nowhere is this simple psychological concept of learning more apparent than in the inane arguments the reichers offer to justify their king's wiretapping of American citizens' telephones. The newspapers who leaked the story, according to them, are undermining the war on terror because now the "terrorists" know the government's strategy. On another blog, a reicher commented that "[w]e're dealing with an enemy that moves swiftly and silently (which is why these wiretaps were done in the first place), and now that the enemy knows what's going on, they're going to shift their tactics so that it is harder for us to catch them. Nice work."

I am sure many of you have read similar arguments.

To enter into the action hero fantasyland in which this guy lives, you have to believe that the people who masterminded 9/11 believed that their phone lines were secure, spoke openly about their plans, are now shocked to find out that the government might be listening in on their phone calls and, as we speak, are "swiftly" moving and finding new means of communication. I personally find it hard to believe that the "terrorists" who our CIA trained to dodge and defeat the Russians would be so naive to believe their phone calls are secure. Then again, I don't watch Alias or 24.

Well, I watched Alias once. Stopping in for a visit to friends on a Sunday night, I found them glued to the television, following Sydney's dogged pursuit of standard Hollywood evildoers. It was the most predictable, cliche, wannabe James Bond bunch of crap I have seen in a long time, but they loved it. And it is no wonder they are among those who believe it is okay that the behemoth government wiretap our phones to catch "terrorists". That tactic worked for Sydney. And it probably worked for Jack Whatever His Name Is in 24 too. And what's good for Sydney and Jack is good for America.

If you watch any American action movie or tv show, you will learn that all evildoers are smart enough to implement schemes to take over the world, but are stupid enough to discuss the details of their plans without regard to being overheard. You will also discover that all good-doers are pure of heart, honest, trustworthy and selfless. Die Hard, Mission Impossible, Alias, 24, Zorro, all James Bond films, and the list goes on. Villain says something that is overheard by the characteristically selfless hero who wants nothing more than to protect the world from the evildoers' dastardly scheme. Sound familiar?

For those of us who live in that damn reality-based community, our government is trying to convince us that "terrorists" in America move so quickly that police should not be required to get a warrant, but move slowly enough to be eavesdropped upon. Also, we are supposed to believe that warrantless wiretapping of 250 million people yields results. Even if one percent of Americans (25,000) falls within the definition of "terrorist", the random wiretapping of phone lines is not a wise use of resources. If there is time to narrow the scope of the investigation and focus on a target, there is time to get a FISA warrant.

The government's so-called "war on terror" has been a comic failure and surrendering more of our Constitutionally guaranteed liberties is not going to reverse that. The reality-based community conceptualizes the principles and liberties of the Constitution. The others conceptualize fiction and fantasy they glean from too many bad movies and television shows.

18 Comments:

At 1:14 PM, January 09, 2006 , Blogger T-Steel said...

The screening process of warrentless wiretaps would be a scream. All the things that people say on the phone; whether they mean it or not would just be pure entertainment and a RIDICULOUS waste of resources. It is so easy to mislead over the phone that to expand the pool to all Americans would effectively end the "electronic" war on terror.

 
At 1:22 PM, January 09, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Hi T-Steel,

Welcome. You are absolutely right that such broad searches would be a ridiculous waste of resources. Can you imagine the NSA computers looking out for anyone who says the word "bomb" and catching everyone using the popular slang phrase "that was the bomb" to describe something they liked?

 
At 1:59 PM, January 10, 2006 , Blogger Reign of Reason said...

Great post II...

American's just need something to fight/fear... (Dear Leader pandered to that perfectly). Whether it’s the war on drugs, the war on terror or the cold war (a real threat) its somehow become part of the national psyche: “somebody is out to get us”…

Of course, there is always someone out there who would like to “get us” – but most of the time its restricted to a small group of loonies that can only occasionally cause real harm.

But that doesn’t stop your average reicher in the red-states… Sitting in their mobil home in the middle of the American out-back they just know the terrorists are getting ready to explode a dirty bomb in their ‘neighborhood’.

The hypocritical part is that most reichers foam at the mouth when you talk about the war on terror -- but their contribution is putting a magnetic sticker on the back of their gas-guzzling SUV that says "I support the troops".

 
At 3:27 PM, January 10, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

You are so right about the stupid stickers ROR. Since most of them live in nowhere America, all they have is movies.

On Sharky's blog, I once made the comment that it amazes me that people in cities that are likely targets, i.e. LA and NY, maintain racial tolerance and sensibility while people from cities that someone wouldn't even stop in to take a shit are in a state of panic. They watch way too many bad movies since cow tipping has to get old after a while.

 
At 3:36 PM, January 10, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Here's my take: the Bushies didn't go through FISA for the very simple reason that even that doormat court wouldn't have condoned what is probably a vast data-mining operation.

I'd also bet money that these wiretaps specifically target domestic-to-domestic calls. There are allegations that one target of these wiretaps is CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

She's not only a journalist, but is married to Jamie Rubin, who served as undersecretary of state under Clinton and was a foreign-policy adviser to John Kerry.

The only reason I can think of for Bush to risk a major showdown with Congress over this is that the program is widespread. Otherwise, why directly contravene Federal law?

:-), StS

 
At 3:43 PM, January 10, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Sharky,

You are probably right. I still do not understand what exactly these satan-worshippers in office are trying to accomplish. Perhaps I should reread 1984 for an answer to that question.

 
At 4:16 PM, January 10, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

"stop to take a shit . . ." that's the funniest shet i've heard all week.

My resolution is to stop watching so much TV. I was watchin' like 6 hours per day. I'm tryin' to cut it down to 2.

 
At 4:59 PM, January 10, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

BOB - there's only about 2 hours worth of tv that is worth watching. The Simpsons at 6:30 and 7:30 and The Daily Show/Colbert Report at 11:00/11:30. :-)

 
At 5:51 PM, January 10, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

Something about The Daily Show bothers me. I used to like it. I think, in general, I'm cutting down on the news. I was watching The Today Show, then Democracy Now, then blogging all day, then coming home and watching the nightly news. It got to be too stressful, so I'm just reading the paper and blogs. No TV news, including the Daily Show. Colbert was never funny to me. Maybe I don't get it. :-)

I still love Desperate Housewives, Wife Swap, George Lopez Show, Everybody Loves Chris and Sharp Talk with Al Sharpton on TVONE.

 
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