THE VAULT

Fearonomics
May 14, 2007 by Julius Serpentine

Hey, dumb ass! Stop screwing around in your mom's backyard and go to school!

Terrorists. Terrorists. Terrorists!

Since the inception of Slantmouth as a news-reporting institution, terrorists have headlined the news. It is not by choice that we wag our gargantuan digital finger, aided by the typing of our sensual analogue fingers, at them. Like the ninja and the pirate and the robot, terrorists have entered the pantheon of overused archetypes readily awaiting our attention, and probably, in the not so distant future, our advertising dollar. Terrorist organizations will want a cut of the money being raked in by cable news. Every time Massengill advertises on a cable news channel, terrorists will want a piece of the action. A good match by any standard.

Sooner or later terrorist will want to cash in on the terrorism zeitgeist. The iron is hot and the time to strike [the market with cheap merchandise] is now, but it cannot last forever. When will this economy of terror finally collapse in on itself?

While Halliburton works out the math on that question, Slantmouth believes the answer can be found in Four … uh, Fort Dix.

Six men are being held for allegedly planning to attack the New Jersey fort with large automatic weapons. Would a military fort, presumably containing a few soldiers packing their own sizable weaponry, be threatened by six largely untrained men? The consensus of reputable news outlets is that not only would they have destroyed Fort Dix, they would have marched all the way to Washington, D.C. and wiped themselves with the Constitution, at least after the White House was done with it. This would give new meaning to the phrase “sloppy seconds“.

The real fear that this planned attack conjures up in the minds of terrorism experts—their expertise attained through the vigorous reading of textbooks and at least six viewings of True Lies—is that this signals only the initial emergence of “homegrown” terrorists. These six men had no ties to Al-Qaeda or any other terrorist organization but were entranced by the glamorous tales of lavish cave living and not having to worry about health insurance. The very thought that others like these men will begin coming out of the woodwork threatens to do something very dangerous: Dilute the terrorist brand!

You see, with the possibility of “me too” terrorists and terrorist knock-offs flooding the market, it will not be long before the masses will have had enough. They will have heard the word so much it will mean nothing at all. It will become a vague label so watered down and so lacking in emotional connection that a new brand will have to emerge to take the place of “terrorist”.

Perhaps “Islamist” will be the new brand, easily connecting Islam with terrorism for those too busy eating fried chicken and watching porn to actually ponder on such things. Though, one day even that may lose it’s meaning, much like the color-coded terror alert system. We are pretty sure red means, “Stop and kill yourself immediately! Do not give those terrorists the satisfaction!” You just read it on the Internet, so it must be true.

Slantmouth hopes the terrorist brand does not get so broken that it is dragged down to unspeakable levels of loserdom, indistinguishable from depressed teens wearing flannel and riped jeans, bobbing their heads with the grace of elephants mating. For the great big fear of this young century to be marginalized so quickly would surely be a tremendous loss in our cultural fearscape. Its death would bring about such great sadness that even the noble ninjas, pirates, and, if possible, robots would shed tears, wiping them away with crisp one hundred dollar bills.

~Julius Serpentine