On recession beating terrorism as public spectacle

A short while ago, the Empire State (USA, not the building) and its lap dog (namely UK) wanted us to believe that bin Laden and his bearded friends, the axle of evil and Britney Spears wanted to tear down western civilization.

And what is it, early May 2008? It seems that only the latter has succeeded and the popular attention has shifted overnight (taking the last night as last August) unto money matters. ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ was a phrase widely used during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign against George Bush Sr.

If Economy were a person, I would ashamedly tell her, ‘It’s the stupids, Economy’. And as the saying goes, ‘people is the plural of stupid’, so she would get the picture.

I cannot believe how gullible, naïf, stupid, and herd-like we humans are. Just throw them a bone and they will chew it for hours until you chuck them something else. Yesterday is ancient history.

Nobody seems to remember gas-masks, chemical and biological attacks on our kids’ playgrounds, and the suspicious looking 5 year old Boy Scout at the airport who could have been a potential martyr of Allah. But no, now the kiddo is just, well, you know, a random 5 year old Boy Scout flying to Tenerife with his family.

I just run a search on GoogleTrends with the words Terrorism (blue line) and Recession (red) and, not surprisingly, the boogeyman has changed his coat since last summer:

If GoogleTrends is to be believed, the world is now a safer place than it was and it is not thanks to invading random poor or oppressed countries but because fears of recession at home.

I just finished Bill Bonner’s Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets and the subtitle of the book couldn’t be better: ‘Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics’. It is completely true. And perhaps, only perhaps, somehow the flood of money from the Alan Greenspan’s Fed not only fuelled the war on terror (ok, who’s next with a war on ugliness, war on petunias or war on the memory of Sparta?), but dollars by the bucket load ended up their lives in subprime mortgages. Ironies of life.

But hey! Let’s look at the bright side. Finally Tora Bora can join Rome’s Coliseum, Athens’ Parthenon and Phnom Penh’s National Museum on Abercrombie & Kent and Kuoni’s cultural destinations brochure.

As a matter of fact, I always thought that, as a name, Osama bin Laden was too much of an easy and international brand name, almost à la Nike, iPod or TomTom. I bet it won’t take too long before his logo and name join the ranks of Mao and Che Guevara as popular icons on teenagers t-shirts. After all, what’s under 4 thousand deaths when Mao wiped out millions and millions of his own nationals? He even got a shirt collar on his honour?

Crazy world, Hobbes, crazy world.

Until tomorrow,



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