Bye, bye, Ernie?

Quick, do you know what the official terror alert level color is right now? You should because it hasn’t changed since 2006. The official color scale is on the left and the much more memorable one is on the right.

terroralertcolors.jpg terroralertsesame.jpg

The system was a joke because it did not tell people anything useful. If the color changed, what implications did it have for the average person? How should their behavior change? No one knew. Furthermore, it quickly became reduced to only two colors, Bert and Ernie, but Ernie has been the sole possessor of the title for four years now, despite the failed Christmas bombing and Times Square plots that occurred during his reign.

The authorities must have been in a quandary because they were never going to lower the threat to Cookie Monster because that would not serve the purpose of keeping people in fear. Oscar was simply out of the question, dangled in front of people purely for window dressing, to give them the illusion that there would come a time when the war on terror was over. They could not also raise the level to Elmo because people might freak out thinking that the Armageddon had arrived.

Well, it looks like that system is on the way out. It not only will not be missed, its disappearance will not even be noticed.


  1. Steve LaBonne says

    The most fitting symbol for the whole “system” would be Bozo. I’d like to have some confidence that its replacement will be more useful, but…

    Regardless of crazy things going on around us, most of us have a great deal to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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