The propagandists have now achieved their goals, judging by the young man in a bandana from whom I ordered a hot chocolate.
It’s spilling over, the people are like bursting sausages of propaganda.
“Crazy times we live in,” he said,” as he began to mix my cocoa. “Some people just so full of hate, you know?”
He was referring to supporters of Donald Trump.
On this day, in Brussels, at least 31 people had been killed by bombs detonated by ISIS.
But the barista did not mention this. He was focused on Trump and his supporters.
“Scary, how full of hate people are.”
I said nothing.
I was weary and past all words. And in any case, he wasn’t interested in a conversation.
“And Bill Maher, that guy pisses me off big time. He pretends to be this liberal left guy but then out of the blue, just out of nowhere, he starts saying the most ignorant hateful things about Muslims.”
“Does he? Like what?”
“Oh like that the religion is all about violence and…I don’t know exactly.”
I figured I had to say something. So finally I said: “I think it’s fair to say that the media has us all primed to proclaim confidently about vast subjects we know virtually nothing about.”
He looked at me blankly.
There was no getting away from it. People want to spray graffiti onto other people, first chance they get.
I heard his booming voice working the same riffs on every customer. I wondered if I could discreetly ask a manager if baristas could be asked to make the coffee, tea, and cocoa, without broadcasting their propaganda to the customers. I would pay extra for that.
The worst part about it was that they weren’t even his beliefs. They were generic statements.
If he was paying attention to the news of the day, he would have been a better reporter. He would have mentioned the arms, legs, and dead bodies all over the Brussels airport, and the frantic parents calling their children’s non answering cell phones.
For some reason, this didn’t strike the young man as “hate,” or even worth talking about.
I am rarely happy in cafes, but I keep trying.
If you think about it, nobody really wants to eat or drink anything served in cafes anyway.