…but I’ve been really lazy. Raych was back in the home country, so I had the place to myself, and holed up in the spare room for a week to write some serious thesis. I know, sounds like the perfect opportunity for writing here, but I actually got some work done and didn’t feel much like writing anything else. In my downtime I did all kinds of things I don’t normally do (and for good reason) these days, eating junk, playing computer games, reading sci-fi… (Besides, Raych makes up roughly half this site’s readership, and if it weren’t for people googling ‘David Schirmer’ or ‘The Secret’ that share would be substantially higher.)
So the day Raych was getting back I left the cave to get some proper groceries, and there were cops everywhere, on the train, on bikes, in the shops… APEC has crept up on me.
Now like I said, I have hardly left my house in the last couple of weeks, so maybe I have missed all the posters and suspicious activity. And I’m not that good at predicting the size of Sydney rallies – they have consistently been bigger than expected, I suppose on account of the city being more populous than the home country. But I have heard far, far more hype about APEC protests from the police, the police commissioner, assorted politicians and newspapers than I have from the activists I maintain some loose contact with. Is it really going to be that big? It seems hard to believe. A lot of people in high places seem to really want it to be, though.
It goes without saying that all this security state stuff is outrageous. My question is, to what extent is it cynical and calculated, and to what extent do these people really believe their own hype? I have leaned towards the former. It would certainly be in Howard’s interest for some serious scuffling to break out, and the ‘current affairs’ shows, tabloids and talkback hosts are gagging for it. But such ridiculous things are being predicted that I’ve come to think there is some genuine fear there. Then I walk out the door this morning and these new ‘national security’ ads are all over the place: “KEEP AUSTRALIA SAFE. KEEP THE INFORMATION FLOWING. 1800 123 400 Trained operators take every phone call seriously. You can remain anonymous. National Security. Every detail helps.” (In the graphic, snatches of imaginary phonecalls: “I overheard them planning something… I felt like I had to let you know… They have a lot of pool supplies in the courtyard but they don’t have room for a pool… It’s unusual for him to be receiving deliveries like that, especially at that time of night… I know this person who has downloaded a lot of documents from suspicious websites…”)
Do you laugh or cry? I have to admit, again, I’m still leaning towards the former.