Disneyland burnout

By Ben Hoffman

The American gates at the Calgary International Airport are different than any gate leading into any other country. Maybe it’s proximity, maybe 9/11, maybe it is a culture of paranoia, but the United States feels obliged to ship their own customs agents to Canada–like an embassy, but without prestige–to heavily scrutinize anyone who wishes access into the land that provides us our Freedom© by Godâ„¢. This, at least, is what the sprawling posters seem to allude to while one waits in line to get scanned by the angry eyes of a begrudged front-line soldier/customs agent, fighting the war on terror on alien Canadian soil.

To be fair, the sign might have been improperly read, as it is difficult to partake in American kitsch/indoctrination when an impatient woman with a massive baggage cart is ramming one’s heels. But I digress, that is hardly the point of this regaling–it is merely coincidental with the nigh-thematic anger of post-terrorist American relations.

The bags of Canadian potential terrorists are scanned differently at this gate. The potentials are herded through small hallways to the back of the airport, where even their large, stowed luggage is sent through high detail X-ray scanners for high volume observation. Anywhere else–Germany, for instance–and the bags are checked by Canadian airline personnel, and randomly selected for search after.

It could have been the stress of early morning flight, or the pretension of the surroundings at the U.S. section of the airport, either way those pre-flight observations and transgressions were easy enough to write off. The point so needed to be made could easily have disappeared into the trip’s enjoyment had it not been for the pre-gate bag check at Disneyland, another case of showy anti-terror methods con- flated with a paranoiac’s cynicism.

The pre-gates were an extra line barring the would-be populace of the Happiest (and probably most expensive) Place on Earth. Bags were shuffled across tables where garishly-attired “cast members” angrily cast eyes upon their contents, searching for illicit materials. The “cast members” were Happiness-burnouts, lost children of a false belief in the equivalence of strong economy and a happy population (the Disneyland paradigm). The burnouts made incredibly apparent the trappings of American culture.

Osama has already won. Every bag angrily opened, every customer begrudgingly patted down, is another instance to prove that although their method may be wrong, the terrorists have something in their message; it is time from us to awaken from our dreams of dollar signs into the life that has been waiting for us at the fringes of money.

It is too late for America, I realized. They have fallen so far into their delusions that any anger, no matter how thin it makes their existence, is justified by the actions of 9/11. But weep not for the post-Disneyland times; for it is now that we must make the most decisive, fell cultural swoop possible. It is time to topple a paradigm that fights injustice with indignant money. Leave Godâ„¢’s Freedom©, and come.

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