Earlier today, I learned that the construction pit near my home turned up some artifacts of old Seattle.
I was excited.
Never content to use other people’s pictures when I can get my own, I packed up my gear and headed across the street.
When I got to the entrance of the pit, I encountered one of the construction workers.
“Good afternoon”, I said, “would you mind if I got a shot of the boardwalk you guys uncovered today?”
The man looked me in the eye and laughed heartily.
“Boy …”, he responded, “are you a taxpayer?”
“Oh! Yes, sir!”, I said, “As a matter of fact, I’m the biggest and bestest supporter of this light rail system in the entire city of Seattle! The entire world even! I’m the reason you have a job. I’m the reason this subway is being built. The money is going to come out of my pocket, and the pockets of my neighbors, but unlike some light rail naysayers … I intend to give enthusiastically!”
The man looked me up and down.
“Boy, how long have you lived in this country?”, he asked.
“A long time, sir”, I replied.
“Well” he said “I don’t know how you missed it, but let me tell you how things are done in America.
If you want a picture of the boardwalk, the boardwalk you paid to dig up, here’s what you do.
First, find as many corporate sponsors as you can. The bigger, the better. Now, I don’t care what you have to do to get them. Cover Apple product launches like they are some kind of life-or-death event, and make people believe it; really believe it. Spike stories, cover things up, distort the truth, hell, lie if you have to … the important thing is that you please the CEOs of big businesses, boy.
Don’t believe none of this nonsense about being a taxpayer and yada yada yada. You have to pay to play, boy. The key is to make money for the large corporations, please the politicians in their pockets, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll let you take a picture of the property you own.
Now why don’t you take your little camera there and run along, boy. Don’t make me call Homeland Security and tell them that you were a-takin pictures of this here site. They have special places for people like you. Secret places, and you ain’t a gettin no trial, boy.”
“Yes, sir”, I sheepishly replied.
“Oh, and one more thing”, the man interjected, ”when you do everything I told you, and you get your own website … find the nastiest, most obnoxious, most ear-splitting advertisements you can find, and put those on your site. Crash people’s browsers if you can. Torment the little people, boy. Those poor bastards deserve it.”
“Got it”, I said, and then I dejectedly walked home.
Okay, the above conversation didn’t really take place in words, but it did take place non-verbally.
I did nicely ask to get a shot of the boardwalk, but the man told me that entrance into the area was “not possible because this is a highly secure site”.
He also told me that if I wanted to see it, that it would probably be on the news (so much for a highly secure site).
And so, the mainstream does indeed have it.
While you’re there, by all means, click an ad.
Access isn’t cheap.
Make sure you crank up your speakers too.
Hearing is overrated.
Next time Sound Transit needs money for a project, I’m sure they can count on the Seattle P.I. for the funds instead of bothering the pesky taxpayer.