The news today: East Coast fear

“I sure as hell hope New York doesn’t get it,” she says earnestly, looking around the room for nods of support. “Might as well draw a big target on us.”

It’s about the 50th time she’s said this. But though I’m not sure of her title, I’m pretty sure she’s important to the grand hierarchy of the magazine. It’s only my fourth week as an intern; I’m still in the mode of just trying not to piss anyone off. So I allow only a tiny flicker of contempt to flash over my face before quickly looking down at the doodles on my notebooks.

She’s talking about the Olympics — we’re considering doing a little something on the cities vying for the 2012 games (New York among them). She doesn’t want them to come stateside. She’s afraid they’ll bring with them the terrorists.

First of all, hello, they’re kind of busy in Iraq right now. Second, who actually buys into that perma-fear stuff anymore? Apparently, the liberal East Coast media elite.

This is not the first time Important People have uttered little wisps of alarmism. My first week, we discussed a story about nuclear reactors and how the terrorists could cause a meltdown RIGHT NOW. They sat around the table in their expensive suits wringing their hands and declaring that half the population could be coated in radioactive goo any minute. I was so confused.

Of course 9/11 happened in New York. But it still stands as the only foreign terrorist attack to kill a whole bunch of people on our soil. Biological attacks have only happened in Gotham. I would have assumed the people sitting around the table would understand this.

They are, for the most part, liberals, some of them flaming. And yet they are the very people perpetuating the rhetoric of permanent panic, justifying the building up the security state for the very “red staters” they are (still) desperately trying to understand and view with just a touch of contempt (OK, sometimes more than a touch). They were key to getting elected the very man they despise. It’s an irony only New Yorkers could appreciate.

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