Each week in In Case You Missed It, Mike Haverty digs into the news to look closer at things that warrant further examination.
Danger is a rather amazing thing. It’s not fear. Far from fear. Danger is the rare bewilderment of not knowing what can possibly happen next. It’s without warning, which makes a huge difference. If you’re driving down the road, and there’s a bridge up ahead, and you see a sign that says “Warning: bridge out ahead,” the experience of actually seeing the out-of-commission bridge is much less exciting than reacting to the new information as soon as you see the bridge is out. The world changes so rapidly in those few seconds that you second-guess your experiences in the world up to that point. Danger is that revelation that rests between comfort and mounting anxious expectation over new information.
Part of danger is understanding that the world will evolve in unpredictable ways. There’s a lot of anxiety over the future, and this has been true since the early 1900s. Usual concepts of the future revolved around meals in a pill and robot Reagan, but now, the organization Defense Distributed is attempting to design a 3-D printable gun. For those who don’t know what this means, a little primer on 3-D printing: 3-D printers take a design file of an object (usually smaller items like replacement parts, but the tech gets better every day) and recreates them using plastic and similar materials. Understandably, many companies are worried that some items will no longer be profitable because people could construct them at home, piece by piece. While I’m not a huge fan of guns, I absolutely adore this project. Not only because it adds “I gotta print a gun” to the modern phrase lexicon, but it means complex tools are nearly simplified to the point of casual self sustainability and reliance. We are shortening the gap between “I want this” and “I got this,” while avoiding the labor of others and the hassles of teleportation.
The mentality is a little mountain man-esque. The idea is that one could just break from society and function on their lonesome. This voluntary removal from the self from society is mirrored in one of the F.B.I.’s hottest gangs to watch. Did I say hottest? I meant to say the Juggalos. A year ago, the F.B.I. labeled Insane Clown Posse fans as a gang and worthy of surveillance. Violent Jay and Shaggy 2 Dope in turn have decided to sue the F.B.I. All I want to do is not make fun of Juggalos and Juggalettes. Sometimes it’s really really hard, but they found something that works for them. They are the suburban high school mountain man, which is the saddest image I can imagine. It means independence is mall-ratting, a sick room for friends to hang out, and taking out the mini-van on weekends, all while being a joke to every single person who’s not a Juggalo. No one puts on clown make-up because they are okay. I will stand by this statement. So there’s this non-okayness coupled with being labeled a threat by the F.B.I. Holy shit, how sad and weird is that? They embody an empty danger, and somehow this has been confused with gang activity. Lovely, really.
I’ve been trying to understand what to call the opposite of danger. The answer is the unearthed music career of L. Ron Hubbard. This isn’t comfort. Like danger, this has to still be a moment in between comfort and the understanding of a great revelation. That revelation is a new side of the scientology’s creator, and one that is painfully 80s. Right now, the opposite of danger feels like schadenfreude. The dreaded infinity of possibility caused by danger must be paired with the complete finite entertainment of another’s rough go of it, for schadenfreude is concrete, humorous, and it appears as if the other person has failed in a way we think we never could. However, it is likely we fail that same way daily, but only to the amusement of those around us.