Friday, September 23, 2005

Nation getting dumber?

Did IQs suddenly drop while I was away? - Officer Ripley

I dunno, maybe it's because I remember the '60s and '70s. But there sure seems to be a lot of dumb people running around in charge these days.

For those of you too young to remember, the '60s and '70s were the heyday of the Disaster Movie. Arthur Hailey! Doomed airliners, cities and ships! And in the disaster epics centered in major metropolian areas, there was one constant feature.

Say someone's threatening to blow up a bomb in the subway (usually a 'madman' or a master criminal type, who wants billions to suddenly appear in his Swiss bank account or he's taking out the city). Or there are these vials containing a hideous strain of super-communicable, high-mortality strain of flu. Or plague. Or maybe aliens have landed. Anyway, the City Is Threatened.

As the reality of the situation is being made clear to the local authorities, some young flunky will shriek, "We have to evacuate the city!" And the mayor, usually played by a black character actor like Ossie Davis, will rumble, "Forget it. There's no way to evacuate a city this size in time. The people will panic. It would be a catastrophe."

So the police chief, or university scientist, or FBI agent Main Hero has to track down the terrorist, madman, or master criminal, ably assisted by the Beautiful Brainy Scientist from CDC, the Beautiful SWAT-team leader and/or the Beautiful Lounge Singer just caught up in the action, while all around them, people in the imperiled city go about their usual business, oblivious to their danger.

So what happened in the past 30-40 years to make us forget what every hack screenwriter used to know?


At 2:25 PM, Blogger Ellen Marsh said...

Someone at work today said, "I wonder how long it would take to evacuate the Los Angeles area."

My response, "Evacuate the LA area--it's impossible. We can't even get to work on time through daily traffic when only some percentage of all the cars here are on the road."

In addition, we don't have a viable rapid transit system. The number of buses available would only add to the traffic nightmare and could not begin to address the needs of the poor, disabled, and elderly who'd need assistance leaving the city.

I'm sure a similar scenario would play out for other major metropolitan areas around the country.

(By the way, I love my Prius--even though I know it won't pay for itself for years!)


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