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Twenty four hours of fast food, television, terror

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By Daniel Segraves

By Daniel Segraves

The days of television saving us from reality are over. From the frightening lack of reality in the mass media to the ridiculous measures of national security we now endure, there seems to be little hope for even cartoons anymore.

The first casualty of our newfound fear of fantasy was the Fox Network’s smash hit series “24,” in which counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer saves the country from global terrorists.

Bauer is back and he is not afraid to bite out your jugular (I kid you not. Episode 121, look it up). But that’s nothing compared to the events of the second night of the four-hour premiere.

In the fourth hour of this season (at precisely 9:58 a.m., Fox time), a terrorist organization detonated a nuclear weapon in Valencia, California. Even though most people would say the fallout would do a lot of damage to the surrounding area, the real-life damage was just as astounding.

And so the media circus began. Anti-Bush proponents such as Keith Olbermann called the show “fear mongering;” right-wing conservative news channels played defense, merely disregarding such claims. But that wouldn’t stop the buzz from getting around that the nuclear explosion on “24” is exactly what our president claims to be fighting against: domestic terrorism.

Personally, I am as big of a TV junkie as anyone. I’ve been caught a few times talking about NBC’s “Heroes” like a schoolgirl on crack, but I won’t be afraid of someone trying to eat my brain anytime soon to gain my superpowers (yes, I have superpowers), and I won’t try to jump off a bridge to fly (even if all of my friends do it).

The real blame doesn’t belong on the president for once. It doesn’t even belong on Fox news. The blame needs to be placed on everyone who has chosen to allow images on a television show to change their perception. We are living in a state of constant fear because we see everything as a threat and it’s time to cure ourselves.

Take the Boston bomb scare that took place on Jan. 31. Several busy freeways were completely shut down for most of the day around the city due to small, blinking objects that were immediately dubbed a threat. As bomb squads and other officials were rallied around the city to “defuse” the 38 objects dispersed around the city, costing somewhere around $500,000, online bloggers had already cracked the case.

The “terrorists” were a couple of ordinary men in their twenties. The “bombs” were lighted signs promoting the Cartoon Network show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” a show that consists of a talking milkshake, a talking (and floating) box of fries, and a talking meatball. Half a million dollars and some closed freeways saved Bostonians from animated fast food. That’s the world we now live in.

So what this all boils down to is the fact that we are taking ourselves too seriously. We invent shows like “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “24” to entertain us, not scare us into submission.

We can’t allow our farcical creations to turn into monsters just because we are no longer insulated from the terrors that have always existed in the world. You better learn to live with the nuclear bombs (and talking milkshakes) in the world, because they aren’t going anywhere.

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