Xtranormal is a software program that allows anyone to make highly snarky cartoons. I found out about it at work. My partner showed me an Xtranormal firehouse classic after we ran a frustrating call almost identical to the one in the cartoon (for possibly the hundredth time.) It was thrilling to see that so many other firefighters/medics have the same experiences I do and feel the same way about them. That’s not hyperbole. The alienation gets intense.
Here’s a perfect example: Boston reporter attacks firefighters, firefighters not permitted to publicly rebut. Joe Shortsleeve is apparently much hated by the Boston Fire Department, with good reason.
While Joe Shortsleeve (and any other civilian in America) is free to rail against first responders to their heart’s content, that’s a one-way street.
If you’re tired of being employable as a first responder, all you need to do is publicly voice your opinions about public safety. When the agency that employs you finds out that you’ve been expressing your thoughts about your career, they end that career for you. A police officer/firefighter/paramedic with an opinion is a former police officer/firefighter/paramedic. (You didn’t think my real name was Xavier Onassis, did you? Seriously?)
People who use public services responsibly cannot imagine how many people are not among their ranks. We run calls ranging from the ridiculous to the ridonkulous, and we have to patiently explain the same things over and over no matter how irate and/or irrational the citizen is. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we do meaningful work. But people Rick Roll the shit out of us, and they frequently think we should enjoy it, too.
We can’t refuse service. We can’t tell you what we really think. We definitely can’t be sarcastic. And if a citizen — even a known crazy crackhead — complains to our chain of command about us, we’ve got a serious problem. We bite our lips and walk it off.
And then there was Xtranormal…. MWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA
Independent media outlets such as The Young Turks arose organically in response to the vertical consolidation of media. (And ironically, they’re one of the worst media abusers of first responders.) As media became more corporate and stifled, people were increasingly motivated to create new avenues of expression. The internet, and specifically YouTube, has become the stronghold of the resistance.
That’s what Xtranormal is to Team 911. It’s the free speech zone first responders have carved out for themselves. I’d love to see the art form raised to a discourse more meaningful than locker room pissing competitions and gripes about frequent flyers.
Update: Yes, this grocery issue is a real phenomenon that happens more than you think.