OCTOBER 25, 2001: Now some guy says we should use our remote control as a "piece of high-tech weaponry." Anyone smell a product tie-in?




© 2001 Roy Edroso

I have detailed some cases of WRI (War-Related Insanity) among the nation's columnists, varying from mild to full-blown. I'm not sure how to classify the following author. Knowing his track record, I would guess that, while his symptoms indicate WRI, he may in fact be suffering from a pre-existing idiocy.

"You have a weapon that can help win this war," counsels Zev Chafets in the October 24 New York Daily News. "...It flows from a piece of high-tech weaponry: the TV remote control... your living room is the combat zone, and the dirty work belongs to everybody."

I have heard of Victory Gardens, but Victory Video Controls are a new one on me. Chafets explains: our enemies "know that no nation is stronger than its greatest vulnerability, and they are convinced that they have found America's: its soft heart... Press the American compassion button, and you can neutralize its military power."

According to Chafets, the clicker figures as an instrument of war in this way: the enemy will attempt to sway us with "officially approved atrocities (real or staged, it doesn't really matter)."

These images "are calculated to make us cry out for the U.S. to stop killing innocents,' says Chafets. His solution: don't look. "The changer is a tool of modern warfare," he writes, "that obliterates one of the enemy's main weapons with a single click."

The bizarre equivalence of channel-surfing with combat is amusing; the condescending attitude toward the American people, less so. Chafets apparently believes we are as little children, and do not know that sometimes bombs go astray and kill non-combatants, and that we would lose our resolve were this unpleasant, adult reality made visible through the medium which normally gives us Friends, Temptation Island, and other soothing fantasies.

We surrender, Bin Laden! Just don't show us any more aspirin factories!

Already our government is exploring legally viable ways to torture confessions out of terror suspects, and there has been no great public outcry. So much for our "soft heart."

Perhaps Chafets is only trying to get Americans feeling in control of their destinies again -- as I was when I suggested reinstitution of Civil Defense, so that nervous types might march around their neighborhoods in armbands and helmets and thus feel of some use. That would make sense. What gives Americans a greater feeling of control than the remote?

If this is his noble goal, I apologize and offer the following promotional idea:


• recognizes and automatically blocks sights and sounds of: • bombed orphanages • hospitals w/out electricity or running water • children crying "Mommy" in Farsi • Noam Chomsky • Christiane Amanpour • more!

• plays: • Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" and various Lee Greenwood songs over biased news coverage • "We Are the World" over scenes of pro-Taliban demonstrations • fart noises over images of Bin Laden

• freezes frame, contacts FBI directly when you identify an Arab on TV