Watching late-night TV (Ask Rita), I saw an add for a Homeland security specialist program at NIT schools’ San Jose campus. It started with an American flag and a voice over talking about how 9/11 changed everything. Quick cut to a man in a suit introducing himself and calling himself the “Director of Homeland Security.” That’s not Tom Ridge, I thought. He began talking about the exciting new career opportunities in domestic surveillance, antiterrorism, and law enforcement.
It struck me as both reassuring (America’s entrepreneurial spirit absorbs this new threat and turns it into something mundane—a blue-collar technical career) and horrifying (the mainstreaming of domestic spying and the idea that someone might be choosing between appliance repair and homeland security).