Jan 8, 2007


Last night, Guy and I went to see Children of Men. My admiration for Clive Owen has been amply documented here, so I suppose I need not go into it much further, except to say that, once again, it was like no one else was onscreen.

Children of Men has been hailed as the new Bladerunner, but I don't think that's accurate. Bladerunner was fun. This was tense, frightening, and completely believable, unfortunately. Children of Men asks what would happen if, starting right this minute, we all became infertile. And the result seemed to be that life would continue pretty much along its path (i.e. the one to hell in a handbasket) only there wouldn't be any children around to witness it. England, according to the film, was the country with the "best" handle on the situation, had turned into Iraq.

I had been thinking, watching this, that Homeland Security has little daily effect on us, really. Sure, we have really long lines at the airport and argue over the length of a pair of scissors and the volume of a tube of hand lotion. But for those of us who don't commute via Jet Blue, it's not that big a deal. But then this morning I was almost an hour late to work. Why? Because there was a gas leak in Chelsea.

Okay, yes, bad. But the fact that a gas leak merits a) shutting down all trains into midtown from New Jersey, b) placing 4-5 police officers at every station, and c) referring to the gas leak as a "police action" only makes things worse.

I know the theory is to take precautions, and to treat every possible danger as the ultimate threat. But I'm tired of living in fear, and I'm tired of being told to be afraid; I was sure the police action was just some guy who hadn't had his coffee yet this morning and had refused to let his backpack be searched. Instead, it's not even as unusual as that. I don't feel safer being constantly surrounded by police. Even if the guns are being held by people who are supposed to be on my side, as far as I'm concerned, that only ups the chances that I'm going to get shot by a stray bullet.

*Edited to add: So it was apparently NOT a gas leak, but a leak of the stuff that is added to gas to make it smell weird so you know there's a leak...and the reasons for this smell are as yet unknown. So--weird and spooky, but actually even less dangerous than if it were a gas leak.

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