" !!!!PAY ATTENTION!!! "
It is just this sort of psychotic shout that often begins the foolish communiqués I am moved to write about here and now.
These communiqués constantly slip past my spam guard and come to me in the form of uninvited e-mail forwards (with my own captive e-mail address buried among hordes of many others; the addresses of strangers). The particular e-mail forward in question starts off with that particular psychotic shout.
The psychotic shout was followed by these words:
The Latest Scam:The way the scam works is, a man slips into a women's restroom andsneaks into a stall. He waits until there is only one woman in therestroom in a neighboring stall. The criminal then stands on the toiletand points a hand gun into the next stall, demanding the woman's valuables.After getting her cash and jewelry, he demands that she remove all ofher clothing and kick them out of the stall. The thief tosses theclothing into a shopping bag, hangs an out of order sign on the restroomdoor, and slips back into the mall.
Oh, my. I should immediately alert my mother, my daughter, all my female friends to this dastardly activity, shouldn't I?? In fact, the e-mail forward urges me to do just that:
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. This has so far been a nearly perfect crime, as none of the perpetrators have been caught. Don't let this happen to another woman.
Yeah, women should not ever go into a public restroom to take a piss. Too dangerous. In fact, they should line up outside public restrooms and one at a time they should go in with their husbands, boyfriends, significant masculine others, or oh, I don't know, maybe go in with strong, brave men (Gulf War veterans, perhaps) who might hire out their manly services as 'public women's room valets' to accompany each woman individually into the enemy-infested public restroom to take a piss in safety. Right, Truth Seeker? Huh? Hehhh? Yeah, sure.
I am puzzled by what it is that drives we Americans to use the incredibly powerful technology of the internet as no more than a petty tin can on a string to transmit propaganda: infantile, adolescent, and mundane gossip, public safety tips, muck, and dirty laundry (actually, I’m not that puzzled. I figure it’s a mixture of narcissism and shallow denial--all symbolized by that nitwit popular saying Americans love so much--'have a nice day').
We e-mail this sort of trash across the Web rather than communicate with one another about reality (by 'reality' I mean not 'crime-blotter' gossip about scams, not local TV nitwit news 'tips' about how to avoid pan handlers and con artists, and not warnings about the dire need for women to be shouted at and warned about how not get robbed at the mall, but REALITY.
Let me re-introduce the concept of reality to you: it's the very basis of consciousness in a civil society--you remember civil society, don't you, Truth Seeker? Public education, public institutions, public health, public liberties, and public discourse all buttressed by voting rights, wage and price controls, freedom of assembly, and maybe even every now and then public protest. In other words, politics, history economics, geo-politics, news of the world outside the borders of this prison we call the United States, or even, (gasp) REAL SOCIAL INSIGHT).
Why is it that I never receive uninvited forwards about that sort of thing, telling women to NOT be afraid to go into public restrooms but rather to reject shopping malls altogether in favor of locally owned, community-based, shopping centers that cycle dollars back into the communities rather than shoveling their money down the gaping maw of the multi nationals that own and operate shopping malls that take women's dollars out of the city, out of the state, then out of the country to fund the building of more sweat shops and maquiladoras in Mexico and American Samoa, where women have far greater worries than getting robbed at the mall (where they have to worry about being raped by their foreman if they fall below quota turning out those Nike running shoes that cost Nike 75 cents per shoe to manufacture though they cell them for more than 100 dollars per pair once they arrive at the mall)?
Here’s something from the internet (Reuters) that I found interesting, that women are doing other than cowering in fear of public toilets:
International Women's Day Marked in Iraq
[March 8, 2004] International Women’s Day was marked in Iraq today with protests by several hundred Iraqi women demanding more rights (Reuters 3/8/04). Women in Iraq are facing violence, poverty, unemployment, and substandard water, food and medicine. Kidnapping and rape have increased dramatically in the post-war period. For the most part, women no longer go out in public unless an armed male relative accompanies them. And women may be losing in the political arena as well. The interim constitution signed today, while appearing to be supportive of women’s rights, may clash with provisions in the constitution which make Islam the fundamental religion and a guiding source for legislation. If interpreted conservatively, women’s rights may be restricted in the future.
What moves me to say all this is that the above forward and many other uninvited forwards I've received of late are becoming increasingly mundane, petty, infantile, and stupid gossip about safety tips, and various other useless communications which amount to people killing time with a medium (e-mail) that we could better put to use communicating with one another about the fact that we now live in a country run by the criminally insane (Bush, Woolfowitz, Perle, Rice, and the rest); a country that has discarded democracy in favor of fascism. A glorified "Nike- town".
That reality has made ALL our lives less safe, less secure, less certain, and worst of all, most offensive of all, it is now dangerous as hell to travel outside the U.S. since the entire world is disgusted and appalled by the tyranny of the United States, and likely to want to beat American citizens traveling abroad about the face and neck.
This most pathetic of these recent forwards (see the entire text of the forward, unedited, pasted below) is one which urges women to be afraid to go to rest rooms at malls because men are lurking inside women's rooms waiting to rob them, steal their clothes, and leave them naked inside the stalls. If I may do a bit of Derridian deconstruction here, the forward uses suspiciously boilerplate language that sounds as if it were lifted from local news reports (why is it that the robber uses a 'handgun' and not a 'gun' or 'pistol'? Could it be because 'crime-blotter' reports in local newspapers always use the term, 'handgun'?). There is no specificity to it:
This has so far been a nearly perfect crime, as none of the perpetrators have been caught.
If none of the 'perpetrators' (the use of police procedural language here is odd) have been caught then how are we to know there are several of them, and not just one? Are we to assume that these crimes are taking place in so many malls that it could not possibly be only one person? Of course we are. The lack of a city, state, or even time period in this text (its rhetorical uses of timelessness and spatial ambiguity) creates the impression that this is in fact a ubiquitous occurrence. It's everywhere. Thus, no need to cite statistics, examples, locations, or any of the other details that would make this objective or credible information.
Presumably, women ought to stay home, only travel, even in daylight hours, in groups or with men to 'protect' them, and should be ever and always afraid. Yeah. Right. And of course, the people who mass mail this crap everywhere are obviously so naive, so gullible, that they don't stop to think that this country is now FULL of these kind of urban myths meant to further frighten and intimidate the majority population (women and people of color) into submission, fear, silence, and a sense of powerlessness as the REAL threat to women (which is a Hitlerian president in Washington slowly gnawing away at women's rights, women's liberties, and women's control over their own bodies) goes on committing his crimes against us all without accountability. I have YET to receive an uninvited forward denouncing the destruction of abortion rights, attacks on Roe V. Wade, and the elimination of unions.
The destruction of unions alone has been the major source of disintegration of economic power in the lives of women, since unions (nurses' unions, garment workers' unions, food service unions, teachers' unions, hotel workers' unions, etc.) have directly or indirectly accounted for some 90% of the accumulated wealth American women achieved between the 1940's (when women eventually came to make up some 70% of the industrial workforce and even after men returned from the war, remained between 25 and 36% of the industrial workforce) and 1980, the year that the Reagan backlash began eating away at forty decades of American women's economic gains.
I don't think women should live in fear of public restrooms, unless of course, they think that their greatest abusers, Ronald Regan and George W. Bush might be lurking in there waiting for them to strip them naked and steal their purses.
Oh, yeah, that's right: they've done that very thing to America's women already, haven't they? Stripped them naked, and stolen their purses. And just as the stupid forward says, 'none of the perpetrators have been caught'.
You have a nice day, now.
THE STUPID FORWARD, Unedited:
Subject: FW: Warning-be aware / Ladies Please Read !!!!! - PayAttention!!!!!!!!! -
Please read and pass on to every women you know. Be Blessed. Subject: FW: Fw: Warning-be aware / Ladies Please Read !!!!!
The Latest Scam:
The way the scam works is, a man slips into a women's restroom andsneaks into a stall. He waits until there is only one woman in therestroom in a neighboring stall. The criminal then stands on the toiletand points a hand gun into the next stall, demanding the woman's valuables.After getting her cash and jewelry, he demands that she remove all ofher clothing and kick them out of the stall. The thief tosses theclothing into a shopping bag, hangs an out of order sign on the restroomdoor, and slips back into the mall. The out of order sign ensures no one willsoon come to the woman's rescue.
It usually takes an hour or two for thewoman to work up! the nerve to leave the restroom in the nude, givingthe criminal ample time to make his get away. The woman is left nakedand humiliated in a mall full of strangers.The best defense, say police, is to never go into a shopping mallrestroom alone, as only women who are by themselves are targeted.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW. This has so far been a nearlyperfect crime, as none of the perpetrators have been caught. Don't letthis happen to another woman.