Progressives insist that Muslim terrorists are a figment of our imagination, and they replace them with figments of their imagination. Even while a true invasion is underway, they give us imaginary ones to transpose real threats onto fictional threats.
Our political institutions, like our movies, prefer to deal with fictional threats as well. The CDC has issued an emergency preparedness plan for a zombie attack. It’s easier to prepare disaster plans for something that won’t happen than to prepare them for an Islamic biological warfare attack which might happen, but must not be spoken about.
The world we live in is stranger than fiction. It is a place where imaginary threats are constantly discussed but talk of real threats is silenced. No one complains when the NYPD releases a Zombie Patrol Guide, but a furor ensues when it investigates terror-linked mosques. The more imaginary a threat is, the safer it is to tackle it because there is no Zombie Rights organization to sue, whine and conduct interfaith rallies complaining that zombies are people too.
“With an host of furious fancies whereof I am commander, with a burning spear and a horse of air to the wilderness I wander,” Tom O’Bedlam sings. “By a knight of ghosts and shadows I summoned am to tourney. Ten leagues beyond the wide world’s end – Methinks it is no journey.”
We are led now by Bedlamites, feigned madmen running a society of feigned madness where it is fashionable to fight zombies and unfashionable to fight Muslim terrorists. A society in which a 100 million dollar movie that depicts Abraham Lincoln fighting vampires was just released. And if it isn’t vampires or zombies, then it’s monsters or aliens. We need our phantom enemies to fight and defeat; the knights of ghosts and shadows who call us to battle beyond the wide world’s end of reality to avoid fighting the all-too-real terrorists of the Jihad.
To fight ghosts and shadows, zombies, aliens and vampires, is no journey at all. It can be done at home or at the movie theater. The lights go down and sound blares, adrenalin levels spike and pupils dilate, and, when the two hours are complete, the experience of confronting and surviving danger has been burned in and all the appropriate chemicals are swirling around in the body. While outside the terror grows.
More than ever, we are glutted on a feast of false victories against false enemies, while the true enemy remains nameless. While moviegoers in Times Square consumed cinematic fantasies about invaders from outer space, a real life invader from Pakistan, Faisal Shahzad, was plotting to set off a car bomb. Like so many invaders from outer space, Faisal Shahzad was able to blend in with the locals while plotting to destroy everything around him.
In movies, invaders from outer space escape notice because no one believes in aliens, but in real life invaders from Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia escape attention because it’s unfashionable to believe in Islamic invaders, no matter how many times they have struck in the past. 36 percent of Americans polled believe that aliens have visited earth and 55 percent believe that most Muslims in this country are patriotic citizens. It is still unknown how many believe that little green men in UFO’s are also patriots and wave the red, white and blue in between bouts of cattle mutilation.
Reality isn’t a consensus, but responding to it is. If enough people stop believing in gravity or if acknowledging gravity as an invention of a bunch of dead white men becomes politically incorrect, then the rate at which objects fall will remain unchanged but the rate at which people jump from buildings expecting to fly will increase. If we don’t believe in Muslim terrorists, they will still go on blowing themselves up and taking us with them, but our authorities will courageously go on ignoring them while jokingly issuing zombie warnings.
And yet reality can’t be ignored. The very act of ignoring it builds up unacknowledged tensions that must be discharged. The average citizen working through those anxieties sits in a darkened room watching the end of days unfold, sees his cities fall and society plowed under and steps out of the air-conditioned theater into the warm sunshine feeling a temporary lifting of unspoken fears.