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Time's thought police support compliance culture

At least Time had the good grace to document what they did (probably because they didn't even know what they were doing):

1:05 p.m.: TIME contributor Eben Harrell is walking around Boston and emailed this observation: “Almost every business is closed. The ‘shelter in place’ guidance has essentially shut down a major American city. It creeps me out how easy it has become to [paralyze] the entire city.”

Update: An earlier version of this post included comments by TIME stringer Eben Harrell that have been revised [note the lack of agency]. The original post stated that “It creeps me out how easy it has become to [paralyze] the entire city — after all that talk of ‘tough’ Boston.” Harrell says, “As a Bostonian who has witnessed first-hand the incredible resilience of this city, I was attempting to question whether the lock down was too restrictive and whether the police should just let Boston be Boston.”

Can't have questions like that!

Thanks to how the authorities are handing the Boston Marathon Bombing, we now have two new Orwellianisms in the language (and this is before we even begin to talk about the wonders and beauties of total surveillance). One is "guidance," and the second is the "guidance" (so much less rigid than "order") being, er, asked of Boston: "shelter in place." So much softer than lockdown. What will be the next reason the authorities use to completely shut down a city of one million, now that we all know what the orders look like, and how to comply with them?

In other words, stringer Harrell's original post raised serious issues that a functioning democracy ("if you can keep it") would raise. And so of course Time's editors airbrushed had to remove it. Kudos to them for having the dims sense that what they were doing wasn't quite right. What they ought to do is run a cover story on it.

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ekster's picture
Submitted by ekster on

The "shelter in place" thing is most definitely bizarre. I had never heard the phrase before today, and suddenly it was everywhere.

You've skewered Time three or four times over here, and with perfect accuracy. If I can add a note of hope to the discussion, however (writing from Cambridge, after a day of quiet online talk with friends and colleagues), it's that this is a Friday, and people took the governor's injunction to refrain from going out as the invitation to an early weekend that, for many, it was. I don't think the rollover reflex is totally ingrained in the people, not quite yet.

Submitted by lambert on

.... that gives a lot more detail just like that. The analytical stuff we can all do ;-) But "ground truth," ahh, that's really hard.... So please consider a post or repost here on that topic.

Martin Finnucane's picture
Submitted by Martin Finnucane on

Just got back from Dad's, where we saw, sorta, the perp get cuffed on the TV. Hours of a whole lot of coverage of a whole lot of nothing, but it was sure like a cop drama. Dad is proposing we torture the perp, and then take him round back and shoot him.

Meanwhile, the guy on TV is praising the coordination of Federal and local "forces," as well as the presence of surveillance cameras that gave us the supposedly invaluable (and very TV friendly) "white cap and blue cap" stills. So: we've surrendered our rights to privacy, as well as the fight against the militarization of the police, but look what we've gained: a 19-year old amateur (apparently jihadi wannabe), perhaps with a bullet wound the whole time, escapes a police military-style attack - ON FOOT - but we nab him a mere 24 hours later.

Remarkable. Not so much because of the "urge for closure" or the lust for photo ops, but because the white guy in the tie on the TV made a point of interpreting this whole event - which to my eye from here in the cheap seats looks like something of a fiasco - as a victory and vindication for the militarization of everything.

Glad I don't have cable.

Submitted by lambert on

You're harshing the mellow.