“The killer bees are moving up from the south and they will be in all fifty states within the year.” “We aren’t sure what Y2K may bring, but be prepared.” Both of these big news stories frightened me while I was in high school. Since graduation, not too much on the sensational side has kept me awake at night clutching my teddy bear and sucking my thumb…until the other day. It was on a news show last week-the breaking story was not an update on “Bennifer” or an interview with Michael Jackson’s newest “friend.” It was a special on cell phones, those ringing pets we take care of better than our bodies.Anyway, I got so worked up about the killer bees coming and Y2K that when neither of these stories held water I vowed to never trust the media again about serious issues. I decided that most news is entertainment-something to keep us fixed on the flashing box. Fun at times, but epistemically useless. When there is a story about something harmless like cell phones, I might be tempted to indulge myself. I mean cell phones are harmless, right?
Personally, I am a big advocate of the device. They are a vital part of a college student’s life. We talk to friends on the way to class, text in class, (normally the in-class text is simply that, “I’m in class”) and we run out of class as soon as it ends to check our voicemail. The voicemails we get when we are in class are normally a friend telling us that he is headed to class or that he is still in class or that he is not coming to class (I’m sure there are other things people talk about, but I am at a loss to think of them now). No doubt these are very important conversations and we should be thankful for the cell phone industry.
Nevertheless, the other day, when the top news story was an-nounced, my world was turned upside down. They said the current spike in cell phone purchases is due to the new picture phone technology, and this new, easy to acquire technology may be a terror threat. What were they talking about? Were they telling me that terrorists were now sending nasty pictures to people’s phones to dim their spirits-pictures perhaps of Osama and his goons? I can just imagine my friend calling me over, “Hey check this out.” I go over to look and it is a picture of a bunch of terrorists mooning me or sticking out their tongues. On the contrary, the segment focused on terrorists using these picture phones to get inside images of important buildings, which do not allow traditional cameras inside.
The media is now saying that the use of picture phones may be aiding international terrorists. What can an average guy like me do to stop them? After last year’s Super Bowl commercials I quit using marijuana because I was informed that I was helping to fund international terrorism. Can you believe that? All that time as a pothead I thought I was just expanding my mind and enjoying a God-given high. Little did I know, I was funding the same people who were and are trying to kill my fellow Americans. (Can I just stop here for a minute, take a step back and thank God for the media. They are so helpful in decision making.)
After rehab, I vowed never to do drugs again and never to give money to any product which may aid terrorists in their quest to destroy their enemies. Imagine this situation. I purchase a picture phone and I accidentally misplace it. Just by chance a terrorist picks it up. He then uses it to take pictures of some place that he is not sup-posed to. He proceeds to send the pictures over the Internet to some of his buddies. We, as Americans, really don’t want these men to have these pictures. These friends of his do something bad with the pictures. I am assuming this would be the outcome if my phone were to be picked up by the wrong people. I had to know the truth. I needed to know whether or not to listen to the media this time.
They misguided me on the killer bees and Y2K, but I figured they must be right on this one. The reason I needed to know whether to trust the media is because their news was going to aid me in choosing a new phone. I broke my phone two weeks before I had seen the news about picture phones. It still worked, but only under controlled circumstances. I saw the news show on a Thursday and I was planning to buy a new phone on Saturday.
Now I was informed that I could fix my V60 for sixty dollars or I could buy a new picture phone for around 100 dollars. I decided to wait until I got to the store to make that decision. Well, I got to the Exton mall and I looked at my V60, looked at my wallet and then out of the corner of my eye I saw it, the enemy, the unspeakable, the picture phone. I looked at it, in all its glory and repugnance. And it glared back. I thought to myself and decided to take a stand. I stood tall, filled my lungs, and shouted, “I will not fund international terrorism.”
Ben Price is a junior majoring in political science.