2006-12-01

Spectres and their terrorist aspirations

In a dramatic warning reported by the BBC, "The US government has warned of an al-Qaeda call to attack US online stock market and banking services." The warning "was said to be in revenge for the continued detention of suspects at the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay." But wait: said by whom? And why would al-Qaeda take revenge for detention of suspects when if there were any evidence that these suspects had anything to do with al-Qaeda, charges would have been filed against them?

It turns out that the guilt of the suspects is not the only thing for which there is a lack of evidence: "A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, Russ Knocke, said there was no evidence to corroborate the threat."

Now, I thought I had heard one of the most foolish phrases of my life at a recent conference I attended where somebody proposed something he called "spectral terrorism," which he defined as the consequence of terrorism in an environment where there is no terrorism. Yes, you read that correctly -- it is a fancy way of admitting that you are giving an entire presentation about something which does not exist at all, while at the same time demonstrating no shame for wasting everybody's time by talking about nothing. But here is a new one from the same Department of Homeland Security spokesman: "aspirational threat." Now, you all know what an aspirational threat is: it is a bichon frise growling at a lion, a threat that is not a threat at all, in fact, it is nothing.

Says the Department of Homeland Security spokesman, the warning was issued out of "an abundance of caution." Or possibly, an abundance of something else.

3 comments:

aleksandra bajazetov said...

spectral terrorism, aspirational threat, abundance of caution... sorry, i'm not a native speaker of english, but is it just my imagination or has english really gone u kurac here?

Eric Gordy said...

It has to be that second option.

*Komrade*Katjuša* said...

it's DEFINATELY the second option! I think that it might even have gotten to the paranoid-schizophrenic state of word salad.