Friday, February 3, 2023

Ein "Red" Luftballoon


Being a kid of a certain era, of course I thought of the song from Nena when I heard about the Chinese surveillance balloon traversing US airspace. (I also thought of the shooting down by the USSR of Gary Powers' spy plane--a U-2, because this is my brain, this is my Cold War 80's teenager brain, this is my brain on the music of my generation.) Things sure do happen. Sometimes things we know about and sometimes things we don't. The Chinese balloon is supposed to be a weather balloon according to the Chinese, and depending on who you ask, it is both always and never a weather balloon, whether you are talking about spy aircraft or UFOs or anything else. 

I'm a child of the 1980s, but I'm an adult of the 21st century, and I'm like, "how quaint is a fucking balloon"? I'm not talking about how zeppelins are weird since what happened in New Jersey and all, but more like, shit, there are satellites all over the night sky, and I don't know how many dumb MFs got TikTok on their phone. Information gathering has taken some leaps over the decades. What the hell are you all surveilling with a fucking big ass balloon? An obvious large as a couple tractor trailer ass balloon up over the whole continental US?

Could it be our reaction to it? Because that's a fun little test balloon, right there. 

See, I remember Putin was sending planes buzzing by Europe and US borders being all weird in like 2014 or around then, and it felt like a test. But you never know what something like this is testing. So you just have to be cool. And after all, it isn't like we don't also do surveillance; you want to bet this isn't mutual? 

What I do note is that Republicans responded in a weird (but predictable) way--it never would have happened under Trump and would be downed in a heartbeat and they will shoot it themselves see if they don't! 

Oh good gravy. As if Cletus and Clem taking potshots at something moving in the sky at something like 60k feet is going to hit shit. That ain't skeet, Scooter. And for people thinking spray and pray is the answer, let me introduce you to the concept of gravity. The bullets go down somewhere. Just like the parts of the big old spy balloon go down somewhere if Uncle Sam decided to scatter the bogey. And while we gently refer to the directional bits of the balloon as a "payload"--we don't know if there is a bit of nastiness stored in there, do we? And while we call it a "balloon" the actual superstructure of the very big thing in the sky is actually reinforced with a lot of metal and whatnot. 

Why are the supposed gun party playing like this is a thing? Don't you know the range of your weapons, and how trajectory and shit work? The thing is trucking up there. A very moving target. You are not hitting it. 

But as discussed: Downing the thing is not without its potential to do harm, and not just diplomatically. It could harm people. 

Newt Gingrich shared an article that suggested the balloon has an EMP device onboard. My stars and garters, Newt and the EMPs. I fucking don't think about Trump more than Gingrich thinks about EMPs. (This isn't the article he shared but a f'rinstance.) Anyways, an EMP attack isn't just some shit you cobble together from Radio Shack bits, and to deploy it from that height we're talking what? It isn't a point of contact weapon and it wouldn't destabilize our grid for more than a little bit and locally unless the "payload" was more than surveillance shit and was an actual explosive--so that would make shooting it down stupid as fuck. 

And there's no reason in the world for China to do that, either, so calm your tits, sunshine. 

Maybe not overreacting is a sign of maturity and political posturing over something that might be serious isn't a display of seriousness, but of desperate not-seriousness. I'm looking at Nikki Haley and a host of others. 

Humans have never not lived in interesting times. There's no reason to go popping off like Barney Fife and his one bullet. But go shoot your shot, hot keyboard warriors. 


Ali Redford said...


I was a young adult when we drank and danced to that song, thinking WTAF anyway. (Not that I didn't bother my congresscritters-ah, snail mail. Anyway.) Last night I mentioned the song to DH, a hard-core hard rock music person, and played it because he wasn't aware of the song. I had to dance again, because, seriously, WTAFF.

Thank you for all you do here!

Vixen Strangely said...

Thank you for reading! I remember the weirdness of feeling like it was the end of the Cold War from The Day After and songs like If the Russians Love their Children, Too and stuff, and it felt very much like living with a firehose of history happening. So what can you do but dance?

Or it felt that way to me. And I feel like some people just existed and took in no news at all, except for watching the movie Red Dawn and thinking redneck kids with rifles could totally take the Red Army on a good day. And they grew up and bought rifles and now want somebody to give them a reason.

If they want a reason to do something, they can go ahead and support Ukraine. Battle totalitarianism actually existing. Get scared about Fahrenheit 451 and The Handsmaid's Tale both apparently getting started in Florida, instead of being fake-brave over a dead basic surveillance thing Biden was going to bring down anyway.

I just don't understand the priorities of other allegedly grown people.

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