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January 11, 2010

Worse than I Expected

Yesterday I mentioned the National Geographic Channel's Border Wars documentary and expressed some hope for a realistic look at two of our modern follies: trying to seal our Mexican border against poor people and drugs. Judging from the "preliminary" episode, which will apparently air again tonight, right before the "first" episode (!) the series will be another uncomprehending, and incomprehensible, exercise in patriotic puffery.

Rather than trying to supply some context by explaining how the "wars" began and have evolved, the script thrusts us right into battle as we ride along with intrepid Border Patrol Agents in high tech vehicles and Blackhawk helicopters playing cat and mouse games with desperate smugglers and coyotes attempting to deliver drugs and pathetically poor aliens across the Arizona border.

There's no doubting the sincerity of the agents' emotions or that the dangers they face are real; however, we get no perspective from their decperately poor quarry. The truth is that all are being filmed for our entertainment; mere pawns in the money and power games now dominating human existence. The series looks like it will end up as just another tawdry example of "Reality TV."

There is no mention of the fact that back in the Fifties, we had tried to address the illegal immigrant problem with a Bracero (guest worker) program, or that, by the time the program was discontinued in 1964, American teens had yet to discover the anxiolytic appeal of "marijuana," thus there was hardly any demand for "pot" North of the Border.

Forty-five years later, the current plight of our species becomes a bit more understandable; but only to those who remember the past.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at January 11, 2010 04:20 PM