Sunday, February 05, 2006

I grew up in the late 70's and 80's. From my perspective, it was a peaceful time, I mean, compared to living in WWII or the McCarthy era or Vietnam. We read about harder times in literature and history books. They seemed inconcievable and not repeatable.

One author who wrote alot about the Mc Carthy era in particular was Philip K. Dick. His worlds are often populated by secret agents who come knocking on peaceful pot-smoking bohemians doors asking them if they are or have any affiliation with communists. He wrote science fiction it has to be said and these agents and situations seemed a little weirder than one imagined they really were. But today I read something stranger. My friend who's an artist has recently opened his door to two different "agents" at two different times asking if he was either an animal rights activist or a terrorist. (see Hobowilson's blog at www.hobowilson.blogspot.com ) . As he explains, the first episode was the result of his taking a picture of his reflection in his car mirror which the person driving the car in front of him who worked in a perfume factory found threatening and called the "episode" in. The second is weirder if you ask me. My friend was photographing a bridge. Doesn't matter why or it shouldn't, but he explains that he uses pictures of bridges and industrial structures in his art. Sometime after returning home from taking these pictures a federal agent knocks on his door asking if he is a terrorist or knows any terrorists. He invites him in to further convince him of his innocence. Why did the agent visit him? It's unusual behavior to take a picture of a bridge.

This is weirder than the science fiction I grew up with and I don't know what's worse;the fact that my friends action resulted in a housecall from a federal agent and being suspected of terrorism, or the more subtle fact: taking a picture of a bridge is unusual. It wasn't unusual in the late 70's and 80's. What do people do now instead, I wonder?

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you do realize don't you that this blog is being viewed, sent to the big black hole to be analyzed, scrutinized, oops, the word "bridge" and "terror" in one sentence.....get ready for the knock on the door. Keep writing and taking pictures.

February 13, 2006  
Blogger TK said...

thanks, anonymous.

February 14, 2006  
Blogger The Female Stranger said...

This has happened to a lot of people who happen to take photos of bridges. I think it's because terrorists (and also "legitimate" military organizations) target bridges in wartime to help disable their enemies. This is a trite statement by now, but it is a different world than it was in the 70's and 80's, at least for the US.

I am glad we have such a vigilance here about our civil liberties -- it's absolutely vital. However, I am sure that when the next terrorist attack happens, the same people who complain about having to take off their shoes at the airport security line are the same people who will complain that the government didn't do enough to protect them from the possibility of terrorist attacks.

There are probably ways that the gov't can use their resources better than tracking down some artsy guy in Philadelphia or wherever he lives, but on the other hand, I'm not sure what is the best way to create some sort of weeding system about who/what incidents should be looked into or not.

I do think it's awfully self-important of people to be phoning the CIA when someone is taking a picture of their side-view mirror, but on the other hand, if that guy in the car ahead actually WAS someone important, that would be a different story.

And there's my mini-dissertation as I distract myself from researching Woodrow Wilson and the end of WWI!

February 15, 2006  
Blogger TK said...

thanks cio, I did think about that asppect too, like-wow! They really ARE watching...it's just that I think the people they really need to watch are under their own payrolls!!!

February 16, 2006  
Blogger Johnny Introvert said...

Your friend should file a FOIA request to find out if the feds have a file on him, and if so, what's in it. Who knows, his name might have been added to the terrorist watch list. Does he get hassled at airports?

February 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 70s-80s were for sure a more liberated time. It helps that we were kids, which is always quite liberating, but essentially the sea change in American society was just begining when we were kids. Now the Nation is different; the People are more afraid of the outside world and more ill informed than ever before. It certainly feels like a stronger mercantile facism than it used to. Hopefully the character of the American People hasn't degraded completely and we can open our eyes and hearts. This is a sad way for the culmination of Western Culture to go out. 1000 years, from Chartres to the Pentagon.
xoxo the Armeniac (yr bro)

February 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully written "Armeniac" "yr bro" (fellow anonymous). Another beautiful old soul who sprung from me. Oh yeah, yet another beautiful old soul.....cio che sono!

February 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully written "Armeniac" "yr bro" (fellow anonymous). Another beautiful old soul who sprung from me. Oh yeah, yet another beautiful old soul.....cio che sono!

February 19, 2006  
Blogger The Female Stranger said...

hi mom :)

March 04, 2006  

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