BREAKING NEWS

:have the terrorists won edition, vol. 1

:on New Year's Day, on the upper deck of a double-decker Megabus traveling from St. Louis to Kansas City, a full bottle of red Powerade rolled for several minutes across the center aisle until stopping on a woman's foot, forcing her to kick it several times, after which it would consistently roll back. Eventually she allowed the bottle to rest against her foot for several minutes before it rolled away. Later a man took hold of the mischievous bottle and asked if anyone would claim it. No one did:

:at 10 minutes to midnight on Saturday, Dec. 29, at Last Call, which recently became a BYOB club after the state didn't renew its liquor license, most people inside did not appear to have booze. The cover charge was $10:

:what follows is an email correspondence between Breaking News and Al-Qaeda, a local band that lists "Religious/Ambient/Crunk" as its genres on MySpace, along with a picture of Osama bin Laden shrouded in sparkling strawberries and butterflies, with a rainbow background:

Al-Qaeda: what would you like to know

Breaking News: I'd just like to know how you chose the name Al-Qaeda.

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Al-Qaeda: At first it was just to see how people would react to it. Nothing shocks people anymore. We wondered if people would find it acceptable to name a band after the biggest boogeyman to the American way of life since communism. Once you get people to react they can reflect on your decision: why would an art project name itself after a terrorist organization that's become the personification of the very idea of terrorism? We would like people to think about how the government and media have used this phrase, Al-Qaeda, to scare the public into passing the legislature they desire, to watch their cable news reports. Such use of the phrase has made Al-Qaeda into something larger than life, and oversimplifies the problem. Every terrorist group is now Al-Qaeda, every terrorist action is now perpetrated directly by Al-Qaeda. You have to clear your mind to get beyond this image.

Al-Qaeda (follow-up email): Also in some paranoid way you have to think Al-Qaeda has become a kind of taboo thing to discuss openly. Do you think that this email is being red-flagged in some NSA basement computer for later reference or further investigation? It's possible.

Breaking News commentary: Do you think this conversation is being red-flagged in some lawrence.com basement computer for later reference or further investigation? As the Magic 8-Ball says, "Signs point to yes."

-All facts in this story are real. Got a breaking news tip? Email Frank Tankard at frank@lawrence.com.

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