Image courtesy WTOP
We interrupt my seemingly weekly rant on our ever-encroaching police state to remind you that there are plenty of normal everyday people lurking around looking to circumscribe public discourse and force their bizarre conspiratorial views on others. Those people live on this crazy place called ‘Facebook’ … and here is the latest example of just how crazy they are!
Apparently Pepsi in the Middle East and Africa has recently come out with a new design, and a soldier leaving Iraq saw the can and made some wild paranoid conspiratorial leap that Pepsi was ‘celebrating’ the 9/11 attacks.
Here is my problem – for some, ANY juxtaposition of airplane and skyscraper = 9/11.
Like many from the northeast, I have personal connections to the 9/11 tragedies and the horrible loss of life, which were always marked near the anniversary of the event in person, and now that I moved away by email and Facebook and Skype. And while I think that some of the actions taken immediately following the tragedy such as editing the towers out of films and so on made sense, at some point there is a reasonable limit. And I think this latest stunt goes well beyond that limit.
I have no idea why this opinion was given more than a passing chuckle … well, perhaps I do. You have a continued sensitivity to the 9/11 imagery, the recent 10th anniversary, and helped along by the fact that the person making the case was a soldier. And while I definitely stand behind efforts to support our troops, we must always remember that they are flawed humans just like all of us, no better or worse.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened – in 2002 Starbucks got in trouble for an ad that was for a new drink – but at least in that case if you try really hard you can construct a similarity (and the fact that Starbucks were total scumbags during the aftermath of the attacks). That is simply not the case here: the buildings reflect a different city, the airplane is overhead, and on and on – in this case we have a loony conspiracy theorist looking for a place to sit his tinfoil hat.
But there is something else …
As a gadget geek my wife says I am always ‘chasing technology’, which is an appropriate analogy since I will never catch it. But when it comes to the ‘hive mind’ of the public, we seem to be ‘offense chasers’ – the public is constantly seeking some new thing to get outraged about and direct our anger and frustration towards.
Why is this? I don’t know, but I can only assume that in a time where the middle class is quickly being folded downward while the rich reap the benefits of sustained policies that were debunked ages ago, there seems to be nothing we can control. Wages shrink while prices rise, our kids schools are always cutting cutting cutting and we wonder just how we will be able to send them to colleges that cost over $50,000 a year – these things seem out of our control.
But getting outraged and railing against whatever someone brings up on Facebook, now THAT is something we can control. By cheering on divorces, by piling on torment for a gay kid who ends up killing himself …or by protesting something that doesn’t exist.
In deference to the continued struggles of those directly impacted by the 9/11 attacks in NYC, here is something to realize:
There is nothing wrong with the can – if you see things that cause you difficulty, the problem is YOU.
Not every light in the sky is a UFO, not everyone in a trench coat and shades is a member of the Illuminati tracking your movements, and not every image of tall buildings and airplanes is about the 9/11 attacks.