When Ferris Bueller proclaimed, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it,” he was likely unaware of how video would come to define an age. Particularly security camera video. No, when Ferris was engaging in his hijinks, he only had to worry about the live-cam at a Cubs game or his father noticing him from an adjacent cab. He didn’t have to worry about the Internet.
In 2015, life continues to move pretty fast, but now we do have security cameras and angry Internet mobs rather than adoring crowds. So, as ESPN’s Britt McHenry learned, if you’re going to get wild, it’s better to imitate Ferris’ shouting rendition of “Twist and Shout” than a shouting outpouring of understandable anger at a towing company employee.
Granted, unlike McHenry, that’s not hot. And if there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that McHenry is hot, both physically and temperamentally, if not so hot when it comes to dishing out scorching burns. Seriously, girl, insulting someone over their lack of a college degree is insanely weak.
Back to her complaints, though: towing companies are the worst. What they do is theft, and what they do on top of that is extortion. Moreover, the towing company for which McHenry’s nemesis worked, as Lachlan Markay captured, is a sterling example of just how abjectly deplorable the industry is.
Please note that the Yelp complaint mentions the dog being inside the car and not on top of it, so Advanced Towing was not doing the yeoman’s work of going after that insidious Mitt Romney.
Snap poll: Has anyone ever had a really positive experience with a towing company? Even when your alternator broke and you had to pay a generally pleasant man $200 to get your dead car to the mechanic so you could again have a working vehicle? Because $200 for 45 minutes of work after you found yourself stranded in a doughnut shop parking lot on your way to drop $1,200 for said new alternator is the height of good will.
Those of you with your hands up, you’re filthy liars and you are excused.
Regulatory Capture on Wheels
No, the reality is that even when you aren’t the one captured as carrion in the purview of vultures, towing companies exist to make a fat profit, generally one from unsuspecting citizens who had the audacity to not see the tiny sign hidden in the bushes while parking their cars in deserted parking lots of businesses closed for the day. And while I love profits, ethics don’t exist in a void. And when profits are extorted not from providing value, but from holding something valuable hostage, sorry, you’ve entered Ellsworth Toohey territory.
Doesn’t matter if the victim mark in question is hot and prone to less than brilliant explosions. Especially if the mark gets towed, has to pay to get her property back, releases some steam, and gets suspended as a result.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, but they should. Sean Davis elaborates:
Welcome to the Terrordome
Can you imagine what Ferris Bueller, jovial fellow that he was, would’ve faced had his treatment of Principal Rooney and theft of sausage king Abe Froman’s table been captured on video? Wait, they were. I guess we used to be better people.
Now, though, we clamor for scalps. We clamor for outrage mobs. Sure, we all do horrible things— especially when furious. For example, after finding our car has been towed. And while it’s true that the proper thing to do when infuriated is not take it out on a peripheral player, irrational fury happens. It’s best not to ruin someone’s life when it does. To put it more starkly, irrational fury is wrong, and to prove it, let’s all get really angry and try to get someone fired!
See how ridiculous that sounds? Yet, we’re collectively hoping that McHenry does get fired. Because we never lose our shit and behave regrettably. Not us. Never. We’re calm and cool.
Except, as this latest sacrifice to the gods has demonstrated, we’re really not calm and cool. We need a scapegoat. We must fight back with an intensity an order of magnitude above that which got our knickers in a twist to begin with, even if we all know the first drop in this tempest in a teapot is entirely understandable. Relate? Nah, eviscerate.
Ferris Bueller is one of the great cinematic contributions to America, despite the fact that he was fictional and not captured on a security camera, but I’m beginning to suspect his mantra is wholly backwards. Life does move pretty fast, but maybe we’re better off not looking around; maybe we should miss parts of it. Especially as our tendency is to take what we see and destroy it as though we have neither sawdust nor logs in our own eyes.
With thanks to the League of Thoughtcriminals for their contributions.