The Conversation

The cult of government

"South Park" had a great season kickoff with an episode largely dedicated to making fun of NSA surveillance (and, in true "South Park" cream-pies-in-every-face fashion, they also made fun of NSA surveillance paranoia.)  It's always fun to figure out where the writers are really coming from on this show, as opposed to the one-sided didactic humor of so many other satires.  Not much doubt remains about their opinion of Alec Baldwin, however.

The even funnier B-story in the "South Park" premiere was hapless naif Butters founding a religion dedicated to worship of the government, after he hears Cartman snarling about how the State is always watching everyone these days.  Butters immediately converts a few pamphleteering Jehovah's Witnesses to his cause, by handing out brochures that sing the glory of the Department of Motor Vehicles and telling them how the government and President Obama are always supervising them, and controlling their lives, because the sacred government just wants everyone to be safe and happy.  Soon they're holding revival meetings at the local DMV office. 

There are real people - quite a few of them - who aren't far from Butters and his Cult of Government.  This was one of the funniest, and creepiest, gags "South Park" has served up yet.  I couldn't help thinking of it when I read this CBS News report about a guy robbing people in Chicago by pretending to be a federal agent.  He doesn't have to put much effort into the scam for people to meekly submit to his commands:

The man approaches victims in a tan SUV, pulls over to talk to people on the sidewalk and identifies himself as an agent or “Officer Franklin,” according to a community alert from Area South detectives.

The robber convinces people to get into the SUV under the guise of a criminal investigation, then drives them a short distance and robs them with a silver semi-automatic handgun, police said. He does not show police credentials or wear a uniform.

The robberies happened about 3 p.m. Sept. 15 in the 7700 block of South Colfax Avenue and about 2:10 p.m. Tuesday in the 8100 block of South Paxton Avenue, police said.

The man is described as a 40- to 50-year-old bald black man with a medium to dark complexion, police said. He is about 6-foot, 250-pound black man with sideburns.

He drives a tan SUV, possibly a late model Mercury Mountaineer, with temporary plates, police said.

Terrific.  The actual cops in Chicago can't do anything to stop the nonstop bloodbath on its streets, but a fake cop has no problem finding people willing to submit to his authority... even though he's driving a car with temp plates and never bothers to show any credentials.  The lawless have grown savage, while the law-abiding have become reflexively submissive.


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