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  • Overwrought

    Posted by Jonathan on July 22nd, 2003 (All posts by )

    Somebody calls the FBI about a young bearded guy reading lefty literature in a coffee shop. The FBI contacts the young bearded guy, who consents to be interviewed. Agents visit him and he is taken aback to discover that they look and talk like cops rather than ironic twenty something bookstore employees. They ask him some questions, explain why they are interested, and leave. He later telephones one of the agents to provide more information about what he was reading in the coffee shop. That’s it. Then the guy publishes an online column in which he frets about the dire state of our country.

    His article is actually more revealing about his own dire intellectual state, and perhaps that of self-identified future journalism students generally. The person who reported him to the FBI may have been malicious or foolish, and most such tips about possible terrorists are undoubtedly smoke, but how is the govt supposed to know which tips are bogus? There is no alternative to checking them out. The FBI has done a lot of bad things but this isn’t one of them. If it really were a police state they would have done more than ask him a few questions and leave, and he probably would not have written publicly about the experience.

    On the other hand, a published article about a run-in with the feds looks good on the aspiring journalist’s resume.

    (via Politech)

     

    3 Responses to “Overwrought”

    1. Varenius Says:

      If it really were a police state they would have done more than ask him a few questions and leave, and he probably would not have written publicly about the experience.

      It never ceases to amaze me how many of the anti-war crowd fail to understand this simple fact. The US is now “fascist”, eh? Then why are you still here, and feeling no fear in speaking your mind about it?

      This silliness is an insult to all those who have suffered under true totalitarian regimes.

    2. Anonymous Says:

      It’s the kind of argument you reach for when you have nothing else at hand. It’s an attempt at the equivalent of a rhetorical nuclear weapon. It’s quite handy actually, since it identifies the quality of the character you’re dealing with immediately.

      I must admit I tend to give them one of my own these days. I didn’t like France so I left. Why don’t they do the same thing ?

    3. John Anderson Says:

      Dude is a bit paranoid – as may have been the person who made the tip.

      I know from experience that it is a bit scary to get any involvement with the Fibbies, but it should have been played for laughs on the tipster: “I look like OBL on one of his good days, so some twit dropped a dime on me.”

      Mine went something like this –
      Secretary at my new job yodels across the whole office “The FBI wants to talk to you!” I get a name and number from her (and refrain from bashing her skull in). I called –
      “Are you John Anderson?”
      Yes.
      “Did you work for [department store chain]?”
      Yes.
      “Did you leave [about two years ago]?”
      No, about three months ago.
      “Did you drive a truck for them?”
      No, I was a computer programmer.
      “Oh. Sorry to have bothered you.”