Friday, October 24, 2008

White Lines

Reuters reports that someone in Texas, is sending white powders, to banks, threatening death. So American, right? It's like a riff on the 9/11 anthrax scare, the unibomber, James Brussel (the original American terrorist...although I would accept a 12-page essay on the Boston 'Massacre' crew), and angry 1930s American populism. This is like an NYU MFA project gone really, really wrong.

Anyhow, here's the weird part: the letters were also sent to the FDIC and the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision. Anyone smell Ron Paul (I mean, a Ron Paul-er) up in this? Also, parsing the first clause (which the author ambitiously presents as a complete sentence sans subject), while noting the correct placement of both possessive and conjunctive apostrophes throughout, is an exercise in Americans-are-so-weird-cool-ness!: "STEAL TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE'S MONEY AND NOT EXPECT REPERCUSSIONS." (On second thought, maybe we just have Microsoft Word to thank for the correct spelling and the apostrophes?)

But in all seriousness, criminal activity is a defining element of any nation's culture. Americans have made much from the mob (the Soprano's, the Godfather, etc) and gang bangers (50 Cent, 2 Live Crew). The Brits had the first serial killer, Jack the Ripper, and anglophone countries have continued to dominate the serial killer genre. The Russians are starting to perfect the sophisticated-poisoning-of-highly-placed-targets schtick. Mexico has its people-just-go-missing-in-the-night bit. Germans OWN the cannibalism genre. Arabs, suicide bombers? 'nuff said! And this latest installment in the white-powder-in-envelope-sent-anonymously-through-the-post ouvre is another case in point. It is so American, in so many ways.