Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Just imagine if Mosquito Devices targeted [insert name of minority group here]

Breaking News from the Year 2030:
Scientists and police forces have today announced the deployment of an electronic device designed to keep public spaces clear of all black people. They say the discovery two years ago of a gene, a variant of which is found exclusively in black populations, enabled the development of their device - which during testing was found to effectively disperse crowds of blacks by literally making their skin crawl, leaving all non-black peoples unaffected. The Government's Chief of Keeping us Safe said that all police forces would soon possess these devices, reassuring whites everywhere that they would never again have to live with the menace posed by their coloured counterparts.
Preposterous? Maybe. Outlandish? Scientifically I'd say almost certainly (usual caveats about never-say-never apply...). And yet just such as device is already in widespread use, albeit targeting a different sub-group of the population; young persons, or as I believe they are colloquially referred to, da yoof innit.

We would all instinctively recoil at the very notion of a device, policy or law targeting any group that was defined by its ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or class - and yet councils up and down the country are using an equally illiberal tool to combat what is seen as the scourge of da yoof innit hanging around, lookin' 'ard, frontin', chillin' etc - a tool that discriminates not on the basis of skin colour or sex, but on the biology of our auditory systems. I refer of course to the notorious Mosquito Device, thousands of which have been deployed to deter da yoof innit congregating in case they, err, steal your babies and commit teh crimez.

So what is it that makes these devices socially acceptable - if not amongst European politicians then at least amongst the UK's local authorities, a quarter of whom have used the Mosquito to repel young persons, and other organisations that have bought the 3,500 age-specific sound-blasters sold in this country? As the George Monbiot article I just linked to suggests (in a cracking tongue-in-cheek parody of an article that makes me wonder whether he's trying to win #SpoofJenks or interview for a position at the Daily Fail...), we somehow can stomach blasting high-frequency noise at those under the age of 25 - never mind that pesky Gaussian probability of 26-year olds being tortured or rowdy 24 year-olds keeping calm and carrying on - but wouldn't (I guess) ask our local authorities to install boxes that scare off women, or Arabs, or gays, or infidels, or pie-eating left-handed mustachioed gardening enthusiasts or any other group. So much so that even a satirical article like Monbiot's wouldn't get past the lawyers had the phrase 'young people' been replaced by 'blacks' or 'midgets.'

Still, it does appear that the legality of such illiberal devices is being called into question, and not a moment too soon - let's be sure to kick up a fuss until they are outlawed for good, being careful not to be too boisterous lest we're targeted by a device that only campaigners for free expression are vulnerable to...

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