Cities without landmarks
Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada
New Rule: This Halloween, every time you see something that’s supposed to scare you, like a skeleton or a severed head or the ingredients in diet pudding … take a moment and think about fear: What are you afraid of; what should you be afraid of. What’s really scary this Halloween is that the same group of idea-free losers who won the last presidential election could win the next one by making us afraid of the wrong things. Which is why this year for Halloween, I’m going as something truly horrifying: a melting polar ice cap.
This week — as every week — all the Republican candidates talked about was who was toughest in the war on terror. While the country’s most populous state literally burned. The Democrats, as usual, said nothing, because they didn’t want to offend fire.
The Republicans, including the scaremonger in chief, sell themselves as protectors of our safety. But since they’re all, except for McCain, armchair warriors, they’re only comfortable protecting us from fears they made up. Like the way Iran is itching for a war with the United States now. Ahmadinejad is pure evil! Terror has a new name, and it’s nearly unpronounceable.
At the Republican debate this week, Mike Huckabee said, “Islamofascism is the greatest threat we ever faced.” Really? More than the Nazis? And the Russians? And the Redcoats?
In his latest ad, Mitt Romney warns eerily that Muslim jihadists want to establish an Islamic caliphate covering the whole world, including America.
And I thought the people scared of gays and Mexicans were paranoid. Islamic terrorists taking over America? They can barely get across the monkey bars. Our defense budget is $600 billion a year, they’re using guns they took off a dead Soviet in 1981 — I think we can hold Charleston.
We’re the most powerful nation on earth with the largest economy and the best military, and we’re made to act the fool by a few thousand cave dwellers who still put out their video on VHS.
And that’s because over the last seven years, because of the incompetence that goes by the name George Bush, we’ve become the most insecure, paranoid superpower ever. We don’t think we can get anything right anymore. We can’t take care of our own citizens after a hurricane, or plan for our wars, or maintain our infrastructure, and our celebrity rehab facilities obviously aren’t working at all.
Some people looked at this fire and saw not a dangerous phenomenon brought on by man’s activities and requiring a scientific solution, but a cleansing catharsis sent by God to punish liberals. Even though it mostly burned Orange County.
As a species, we’re failing at survival trick No. 1: Prioritize the threats. Environmental catastrophe will visit all of us in the coming decades, in one way or another, and when it does I hope someone like … oh, I don’t know, Lou Dobbs, says to himself, “Hmm, maybe if I was going to spend my whole career obsessing about one issue — it should have been global warming. The skin just fell off my face, and it turns out that really wasn’t the fault of a Mexican.”
Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada
Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, U.S.
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy
Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France
Lost City of Petra, Jordan