I’m reading how a member of a local school board opened up his speech at the graduation with some jokes about snipers and explosives. Everyone’s now professing to be shocked and traumatized, every political enemy is oozing smarm about how inappropriate it was, and he’s falling all over himself with abject apologies.
Certainly the jokes were stupid given the cultural environment, and this guy’s no comedian anyway. He agrees with the whole “war on terror” charade, so he was ill-advised to be irreverent toward it. (Someone who really despises it, and especially someone who’s actually funny, might have done better.)
But the part I’m chuckling over is everyone’s reaction. I bet they’re upset, not because they’re really scared of “terrorism” and that he poked such fears with a stick, but because these “fears” are by now part of their cultural identity. On some level they understand how bogus the whole thing is, but they’ve accepted this mode of social and psychological domination. So they take it as deeply insulting and threatening – not that someone made them think of terrorism, but that someone said something which sounded like mocking those fears. That in turn makes them uncomfortable over the whole unreality of it, what a lie it all is. The more dubious the reality basis of a tribal identification becomes, the more people need intense propaganda conformity in order to feel at home with that identification, and the more they lash out at anyone who breaks reverence ranks in any way.