Deconstructing the Great ATHF Freak Out of 2007

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Mark Frauenfelder:
Dion Dennis, an assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at
Bridgewater State College (MA), has a fascinating analysis of the City of Boston’s ATHF panic attack. It’s the best explanation I’ve read so far.

Official and local media reactions constitute a
classic case of what psychologists call “hostile attributional
syndrome.” In this syndrome, subjects inappropriately react to
neutral stimuli as if such stimuli were signals of real hostility.

First, we can see the historical and hysterical echoes of the 17th
Century Salem witch trials. The two artists, the long-haired, bearded
Belorussian immigrant Berdovsky and his sidekick, Stevens, stand
publicly accused of producing, as defined by Massachusetts General
Law, Chapter 266, Section 102, an “infernal machine.”
(Etymologically, the term “infernal” refers to Hell and the
identities and products of the demons of said residence). So, like
Arthur Miller’s John Proctor, they will undoubtedly be asked to “make
a deal” with official reality, to acknowledge their “infernal”
(demonic) specific intent (as defined by the statute) and, in […]

Original post by Mark Frauenfelder and software by Elliott Back

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