Archive - Aug 2, 2006 - Blog entry

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A Videographer's Disaster

Yesterday, my first day back to Tucson, I went over to Jessica's old house where my most valuable posessions were stored. They were there and not in my storage space because they're stuff that is sensitive to heat; DVDs, CDs, and videotapes, and electronics, like cameras and hard drives.drying out my media

Well, it turns out that during my month away, the toilet backed up in the bathroom adjacent to the room whose closet held my stuff, and water flowed out of the bathroom and across the floor of the bedroom. Jessica and her housemate thought
it did not reach into the closet, but when I arrived and started loading stuff into the truck to take somewhere else (because they're moving out), I realized they were wrong. Who would have thought I would be a victim of a flood, in Tucson?

To my horror, one end of the closet had been a little lower in elevation, encouraging the water to flow in and slightly soak the bottoms of 2 boxes. This flood was not deep. Apparently just a big shallow slick of water. But the cardboard of the boxes wicked the moisture up, which then in the heat turned the interior of the boxes into a miniature sauna. Every single piece of paper or paper product (like j-cards of miniDV tapes, other boxes, paper sleeves of CDs, etc) became slightly moist. One box was full of copies of my film, DVDs wrapped individually in shrinkwrap, so I'm not worried about those. But the other was full of about 3 years worth of raw footage from all sorts of finshed or unfinished video projects. I was terrified when I opened up that box.

I still have not had the heart to actually test any of the discs or tapes. Again, nothing was soaked. Just sort of bathed in a steam bath. Condensation was on lots of tape covers, but it was impossible to tell from visual inspection whether the tapes or discs were actually damaged. I opened up all the tape cases and laid them out to dry with a fan blowing on them.

Hopefully I have not lost anything, or anything important. There's easily 60 hours of stuff there!

Boundary Enforcement and National Security

Dissident Voice printed a speech given in Tucson by Joe Nevins, an academic from Vassar who wrote a book about Operation Gatekeeper and spent a couple months in Tucson this summer doing press stuff for No More Deaths. I have not finished reading it ( I would have been present if I'd been in town), but it looks good, and here's a really interesting excerpt:

That migrants are constructed as geographically -- in addition to socio-politically -- outside helps explain why fears about terrorists and criminals from abroad translate into a focus on territorial boundaries to a much greater extent than fears about purveyors of violence from within the United States. Consider, for example, the case of Timothy McVeigh, who, on April 19, 1995, bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 167 people and injuring hundreds more. McVeigh was not from Oklahoma City, nor even from the state of Oklahoma. Indeed, he crossed state boundaries to commit his crime. Had such movement been restricted, it might have been more difficult for McVeigh to do what he did. Nonetheless, his horrific act did not result in any attempt to restrict movement across state boundaries within the United States. The reason why is clear: he was a U.S. citizen (and a native-born one) with the right to unimpeded travel across national territory. He was not an outsider. He was a white male and a military veteran. He was -- in terms of the dominant perception of what an American looks like -- one of "us." Thus, his crime did not involve a perceived geographical transgression even though movement across space was a key element of his act. Given this perception, territorial security -- at least one conceived in any way similar to that applied along the U.S.-Mexico boundary -- is not the response. In the case of threats -- real or imagined -- emanating from south of the border, however, they are perceived as being primarily territorial in nature and thus necessitate a response involving a build-up of physical boundaries.