Opinion » Note

It's Not S.E.P.

Somebody Else's Problem.



Advances in technology have allowed us to watch events unfolding thousands of miles away in real time or, at the least, only have to wait as long as it takes someone to upload a video to YouTube. It induces a sense of proximity: I can watch London traffic (more interesting than it sounds), see a man in Russia help an elderly woman cross a busy street, or watch a box-loving cat in Japan through the eyes of its owner. I know watching videos of people and places isn't the same as being there IRL, but it does make me feel a connected to a greater humanity, however virtual it may be. On the flip side, I am keenly aware that I see a recent spate of Palestinians and Israelis being killed in street attacks, and China warning India it is willing to escalate a border dispute as happening "over there." In Douglas Adam's 1982 comedy sci-fi novel Life, The Universe and Everything, alien Ford Prefect explains that spectators at a cricket match won't even notice a spaceship has landed on the pitch because it is surrounded by a Somebody Else's Problem field.

"An SEP," Ford said, "is something that we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think it's somebody else's problem. That's what SEP means. Somebody Else's Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot. If you look at it directly you won't see it unless you know precisely what it is. Your only hope is to catch it by surprise out of the corner of your eye."

In this edition of Boise Weekly, News Editor George Prentice looks at the possible repercussions of an F-35 mission coming to Gowen Field. City and state officials recognize the economic benefits of the mission, which would bring 18-24 jets to Gowen, but a group called the Citizens for a Livable Boise has vehemently opposed it, saying the F-35s will be detrimental to wildlife, housing prices and the health and wellbeing of people who live near the base. If you think because you live on the other side of town or outside of Boise city limits, you won't be affected by this issue, check out the story on Pages 6-7. It's not S.E.P.

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