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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Reflections on the sixth anniversary of 9/11:

Before anyone calls me a miserable, cynical, heartless bastard for what I'm about to say, well, all I can say is that I was actually born within the bounds of wedlock, and I take some issue with being called heartless as well, because it's impossible to get as angry as I do about what I consider very important things without a deep well of caring hidden somewhere. I'll let you know when I find it.

With this being the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I can honestly say I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the "news" coverage. Instead of sharing with the nation items of more immediate and relevant import (although, at least CNN didn't spend all day on this crap), we've had a day full of talking heads, including various people from all around the country, harping on the terrible events of that day and how we should never move on. Fuck that shit, right up the ass or whatever gets your rocks off. There's a significant difference between learning from the past and remembering; and living in the past and wallowing in your own misery. As a nation, I was willing to forgive the latter back on the anniversaries in 2002 and 2003, and to a lesser degree, in 2004. However, since then, the anniversaries have become a national form of mass-self flagellation and scab-picking, an emotional form of self mutilation en masse if you will. If we as a nation choose to wallow in our own self-pity over this event, then, frankly, we might as well all have been in those towers, or on those airplanes, or in that section of the Pentagon, because we certainly aren't living. We're existing, and that's not what the victims did, or at least most of them I'd wager, and existing isn't enough. Existing shouldn't be acceptable. Live, as so many no longer have the chance to do. Remember the past, learn from it, but live in the present. Otherwise, Osama bin Laden will have achieved a far greater victory than that which occurred on that dark day. As for me, I'm not afraid of al-Qaeda. I'm afraid of fucking Sean Hannity.

I'm sure that some people on the left will say, "Well, in six years, we're no safer than we were before. Give us more power so we can do it right." Some on the right will say, "We've done good so far, but we have them on the run, so give us more of your precious freedoms so we can make sure you're nice, safe, and warm." Anyone who says either is trying to fuck us all, and they're not being gentle about it at all. Sure, they're using the lube of the masses, pretty words, but in the end, they're riding us like a stubborn donkey. We should all rise up and say, as a nation, "Honey, I have a headache." Fucking should take place in a bedroom or other private venue between/among consenting, unrelated adults; not between those in power and the Constitution we should all hold so dear. And with that parting shot, enjoy the video below.


Candace said...

I don't think you're heartless - cynical and fed up with the politicalization, surely, but not unfeeling.

"We should rise up as a nation and say, 'Honey, I have a headache.'" :) Good one!

Try not to barf, okay? But I watched Oprah's special today. Her guests were some the children who lost parents on 9/11. Their focus was positive, about moving on with their lives.

There were nearly 3,000 lit candles (one for every victim) on the set. It was quite moving. Scab-picking? I guess you could call it that. I prefer to think of it as remembering, or rather, not forgetting those who were lost.

We who were not there, we who lost no one we personally knew, let alone a parent, think about the horror that day once a year (if not more.) Those kids live it every single day. And today, some of them cried, as did some in the audience.

I don't think we should wallow in self pity, either, but it's okay, it's really fucking okay to break down and weep on 9/11 - six years after, and 60 years after. I'm just sayin.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I'm not against people remembering. I'm against some sort of monomania about the event that has occurred on the anniversaries of that event. I'm against the fearmongering by the right, and to a much lesser extent, the left that leads to fewer freedoms and no real increase in the security of this nation. I know how painful it is to lose a parent or other loved one, from sad experience. I'm still not totally over one loss that happened well over a decade ago, but I still live my life, I still go to work, and I've finally learned not to dwell on it because it was destroying me inside. Throughout my particularly coarse language, that hard-won experience is what I'm advocating. I've lost too many years to severe depression to want others to do the same. Those children were absolutely right, focusing on moving on with their lives, and I think that, more than anything, is what we as a nation need to focus on, instead of trite, politically charged weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

I remember where I was when the attacks on 9/11 occurred. I also know where I was on most of the anniversaries: Work.

Candace said...

Yeppers, roger that.

Sheryl said...

I didn't watch TV yesterday, so I missed some of that. But no one I had been talking to prior to it said a word about it, so while maybe the media is still trying to make points off of it, I'm not sure the public as a whole wants to put up with it anymore.

People were really kind of creepy about it in 2002 and 2003, I thought.

1138 said...

Good words you miserable, cynical, heartless little bastard.
Good words

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Then I guess you'd not be surprised to see me quote H. L. Mencken when he said, "Cynics are right nine times out of ten." Or perhaps Ambrose Bierce when he said, "A cynic is a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, and not as they ought to be." On that latter point, I'm only half guilty.

1138 said...

Are you trying to get me to to take the good words part back?
Well, I refuse to - no matter how much you puff yourself up.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Frankly, I won't even pretend to care about what your response is.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Upon reflection, I'm somewhat confused. I used, by my count, seven curse words and three sexual analogies, and then coupled it with the most vulgar song I've ever heard. My comment was designed, by its very nature, to offend at least some and to get people to think, but it was not meant to be beautiful. It was meant to be brutally, unrelentingly honest, and it succeeded on that level. The reasoning shown above was only slightly less ugly, but again, it was honest, and at least adequately expresses my motivation, which was positive. So beautiful words? No. Just the truth, as I see it, and the honest reasoning behind my expressing it in that manner. I don't give heartfelt apologies often, and I'm not going to apologize for this.

Snave said...

I can't say I disagree much at all with your post, MC. Nothing there for which you should apologize. I applaud you.

Of course, being a lefty, I see a great deal of the monomania and national scab-picking/wailing/gnashing of teeth you describe as being generated/perpetuated by the fanatical rightwingers who want to use the tragedy to try and score political points. Through their connecting of the 9/11 events with the "war on terror", they seek to keep our country in a state of fearful confusion.

People who truly mourn the tragedies, such as Candace as she stated in her comments above, come from all parts of our society. On the other hand, I tend to think the ones who want to use "9/11" to whip up our emotions and who want to keep us confused are the radical right, the neotards, whatever. "9/11" has been like a bonanza for that crowd...

I don't think Democratic leaders should try to use "9/11" for political advantage, either. Because I tend to think of matters in leftist terms, I'm not sure I see how the left could use the tragedies for political advantage, especially now that the GOP seems to have so thoroughly used it almost to the point of using it up... but where there's a will, there's a way. The lefty leaders need to watch what they say lest they be painted as "unpatriotic" or whatever... but they also need to find a way to be blunt about what the Republicans have done with their fear-based manipulation of America.

I know that when it comes to the "war on terror", I would like to see things done a lot differently. I'm not quite an isolationist when it comes to how to keep our country safe, but in some ways I come close to it. I see our country as having done virtually nothing in the past six years to make itself any safer from terrorism. If anything, I believe we are less safe than we were then. Bush has fanned Middle Eastern embers into flames, creating a fantastic recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, insuring that the flames will continue for years. With the number of militant religious anti-American factions on the increase around the world, and with still not enough border controls, not enough port security... it seems to me like there are probably going to be even more destruction-bent fanatics likely to find their way into our country than there were before 9/11/01, and particularly before Bush had our military invade Iraq.

Does it seem terribly wrong for some of us to want to spend the money on fixing things in our own country rather than dumping the dollars down a hole such as the Iraq war? Why not build the new schools, hospitals and fire stations here? Why not make our seaports and airports more secure?

Does putting up another "tallest building in the world" at Ground Zero simply tell the rest of the world "bring 'em on"? Maybe the dollars could be better spent turning the area into a beautiful park with memorials, and then using the rest of the money for finding more ways (or better ways) to keep Islamic jihadists and things like dirty bombs out of NYC? I am not a New Yorker, so I probably don't understand these things... The people of the city in which the WTC tragedies occurred may not think like this at all. I just don't know about that, but I do know I detest the fact that the attacks ever happened in the first place, almost as much as I detest the way the attacks have been used to manipulate the public.

Snave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snave said...

I have to add to all of my previous wind that I don't think "Well, in six years, we're no safer than we were before" must automatically be connected to "Give us more power so we can do it right." I would be much more inclined to connect that first statement with "Give us more LEADERSHIP so we can do it right" and "Let's come up with some better ideas so we can get things right".

National security IS an important issue. While I think the Democrats might have a better foreign policy/national security approach than the GOP at this point and while I would rather see a Democrat gain the White House in 08 due to what I see as the desecration of America during the past six years, I could also stand having a Republican president if that person wasn't an empire-bent neocon who didn't hate the Constitution, who didn't want to concentrate excessive power in the executive branch, and who could view Congress as a partner or ally rather than as an obstacle.

There are lots of ways for us to help create a strong America besides electing another "war president", and I hope Americans will have the collective sense to not choose somebody like that next November.

1138 said...

"Frankly, I won't even pretend to care about what your response is."

Well that just makes you a genuine sad sack. (and you won't get that- go ask your greatgrandfather. it's not about the cartoon)