Fantasy Land
In Coudersport, PA (Adelphia HQ), real life tangled with unreal ambition
Matt Taibbi

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Professors to Avoid
The BEAST Guide
Berkeley Bustard, Afghan Sucker
A rare, awful war memoir
John Dolan
EDITORIAL: You Pitch the Tent, I'll Start the Fire
Riot Season is Almost Over
Hackworld
Dead Kids are Alright

Matt Taibbi
Forgery Detection, vol.2
How to spot still more BEAST-authored letters to Artvoice
Iraq or Arachnophobia?
A side-by-side matchup
Velma's Nekkid City
Look who's coming to dinner
Page 3 Porn Store Clerk!
 
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SUBSCRIPTIONS

Last Issue: (5)

YOU PITCH THE TENT, I'LL START A FIRE

As the winds of political posturing blow at City Hall we can only sit and watch as another opportunity passes our city by and no one makes a legitimate effort to capitalize on it. Yes, riot season has come and gone again with nary a shattered storefront window or so much as a trash can fire.

New York City was blessed with the 9/11 attacks enabling them to draw seemingly endless international sympathy and attract unprecedented TV and press coverage. All of a sudden New York City was just the greatest place in the world. Everybody who was anybody just had to be there and wade through the rubble. They now have an anniversary gala slated, certain to induce even further doting and pampering from around the globe. But not all cities can count on such a windfall and that is where Buffalo has to learn to do for itself.

Now that the token, ephemeral heat wave has blown through town unheeded and cooler evenings are common order, the opportunities for riot that depend on endless, scorching-hot days that bleed over into relentless, humidity-soaked nights, with no respite in sight, fade like the whine of a siren from a lone ambulance.

The window for riot opportunity is narrow in climes like ours and we did not pounce, when the summer was ripe, barely clinging to the vine, on the plump and tender plum of civic chaos. Now the juices of that fruit ferment sourly with every preseason football game.

riot.jpgWhile we sit idly, awaiting heat waves in summers to come, we should remember that full-scale, all-out civil unrest could be the usher that passes the collection plate down the pew of national and international pity. It could present a real chance for us to legitimize our unmitigated whining before the heretofore-blind eyes and deaf ears of the rest of the country.

Who among us has not grinned at imagining the egg on the face of the network news anchors like Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and Sheppard Smith when they realize that Buffalo is ablaze, gripped in pervasive terror, struggling to restore order and tend to our wounded while they're not even sure where the hell Buffalo is on a map? Who, we ask you?

Recalling the glory days of the '60s, with their triumphant milestones such as the Watts Riots of '65 and the masterpiece of Detroit in 1967, could serve to inspire us when next the cloud cover passes, exposing us to the protracted singeing of a merciless sun. And let us not be daunted by a dwindling population. Remember the people of Ft. Lauderdale, Newark, NJ, and just last summer Cincinnati--all cities smaller than or comparable to Buffalo in size--who have performed famously in the destruction of their own property and the intimidation of their own relatives and neighbors.

Certain sectors of our municipality need to step forward and be the spark that sets off the glorious conflagration. If its not going to be a riot that puts us in the limelight then perhaps we should investigate potential terrorist activities that we could attract to Western New York.

All talk of possible future terrorist attacks have centered around New York City, again, the Sears' Tower in Chicago, and even the magnificent bridges of California. Now the authorities even consider landmarks and cities in Europe to be at great risk and still no mention whatsoever of Erie County. All the cities and regions that receive the most media coverage and speculation in this realm already get much more exposure and attention for other of their attributes--such as their cultural features, entertainment attractions, historical significance, and natural beauty--than we do for our ailing and atrophying facades and infrastructure.

It is high time for us to stand up and demand to be noticed. Buffalo has just as much to offer prospective rioters and/or terrorist groups as many other tertiary markets in America and we should be damned if we sit idly by and watch as European cities take what we rightfully have coming to us.

Perhaps, to spike the punch bowl, someone from the community will take the initiative to incite some smaller-scale street melees, exposing the antiquated methods of our emergency response details. This might make our community more attractive to potential arsonists and assailants. Perhaps someone will even demonstrate the lackadaisical state of our security forces by employing some noxious agent of bio-terror in one mass-transit medium or another. Maybe some faction from within the law enforcement ranks will take actions appropriate to enraging large segments of the population.

snipes.jpgThese are all avenues that need to be explored. We simply cannot allow summer after summer of opportunity for senseless and widespread violence to pass us by. We cannot sit blithely by as huge crowd after huge crowd gather fatuously at our sporting events and rock concerts, un-terrorized.

We hope these words will inspire reflection and the compulsion for accountability in these matters. We implore the leaders of this community to try something new for a change: lead.

 
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