How far would you go to fight for your freedom? Divergent opens in theaters March 21!

“Dear useless diary,

I have come into the knowledge that my assistant was once in a production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show while at university.

In other news, I have suddenly taken up an interest in collegiate theater. Several freedom of information requests and a strongly worded phone call later and I have a copy of Kara’s performance for my reference collection.

My scholarly pursuits required me to watch the Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me number approximately 47 times so far. I’m no longer sure of exactly what I am looking for, but I persevere. For science.


Remembering Juliano Mer-Khamis, Israeli-Palestinian founding director of the Jenin Freedom Theater and a leader in creative nonviolent resistance in Palestine and everywhere. Act Up until all children can play in freedom.

until all children can play in freedom.
You Look Too Calm. What Are You, a Terrorist? Now You Look Nervous, Terrorist.

Look too calm, you’re suspicious. Look too nervous, you’re suspicious. These contradictory assumptions are just several transportation guidelines on “reporting suspicious activity,” revealed by an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

They comes from an employee document for Amtrak, which is publicly funded. These are signs that you should be paranoid of your fellow Americans, and call the police on them:

  • Evasive path through train station
  • Carrying little or no luggage
  • Last minute reservation
  • Traveling by an unusual itinerary (multi-changes in reservations)
  • Carrying unusually large amount of currency
  • Purchase of tickets in cash
  • Purchase tickets immediately prior to boarding
  • Unusual nervousness of traveler
  • Unusual calmness or straight ahead stare
  • Looking around while making telephone call(s)
  • Position among passengers disembarking (ahead of, or lagging behind passengers)

So, Amtrak travelers, make sure you walk straight, travel straight, look straight ahead but dont look straight ahead, keep pace with the rest of us, carry just the right amount of clothes, and wipe that look of fear or curiosity or contentment off your face, or else the terrorists win.

The ACLU explains that it made this FOIA request because it “has received reports from individuals wrongfully searched and arrested on Amtrak trains,” and wanted to know what policies led to these arrests.

Amtrak has a “See Something, Say Something” campaign like the Department of Homeland Security, and like the Transportation Security Agency, Amtrak’s “broad categories of ‘suspicious’ behavior is problematic because it almost always results in racial and religious profiling, as well as the targeting of perfectly innocent activity. Most importantly, building mountains of irrelevant data is ultimately an ineffective law enforcement tactic.”

The ACLU points out several stupid cases that make no one safer: one woman was arrested for talking to loudly, and a photographer was arrested while participating in Amtrak’s annual “Picture our Train” competition.

On her passion for theater: 

The freedom that comes from extending your childhood really intrigued me. I get to be anything I want today?? OK. I suppose, in hindsight, focusing on other characters human emotion freed me from having to look at my own. It wasn’t until figuring out that honestly looking at my own human emotion would help me reach others did I endeavor to do so.