Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 from the vantage point of 9/12

Hey, apparently yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. How did I not hear about that? You'd think the media would make a big deal of it…


Our internet connection was out much of last week, and that may have been somewhat fortuitous, as it prevented me from posting any thoughts during those days leading up to the big event. I assure you: That was for the best.

Even after getting our connection issue resolved Saturday morning, I intentionally did not post anything over the weekend. While I understand the impulse to reflect on September 11, 2001 and what one was doing that day, and those who wish to share their experiences are more than welcome to do so, the reality is I have no interesting story about that day; they closed the building before I got to work, and so I turned around and rode the train back home, then watched CNN all day with a friend. Even I cannot muster any justification for boring anyone with blathering on about that (and given some of what I've posted, that's saying something).

I considered remaining silent over the weekend respectful to those who died in the attacks (and their aftermath) and to those who lost loved ones and to those who (unfortunately) do have a real 9/11 story to tell. Whatever attention should have been paid to that should have gone to them.

I didn't post (or tweet or Facebook post) some message about remembering 9/11 out of ostensible support for the victims and those affected; that's not the sort of sentiment my overly contemplative mind allows me to have, and it would have been disingenuous coming from me, even though I grasp that's the sort of thing one is supposed to say. I am not someone who can merely say what I'm supposed to say unless it's coming from a place of sincerity. Now, don't get me wrong: My heart absolutely goes out to those who lost someone that day ten years ago; my heart has gone out to them every day over the last ten years (whether I consciously think about it or not), not merely on that day when that date comes up on the calendar.

I assure everyone: I will never forget September 11, 2001.

And it's clear that I'm never going to have the chance to forget even if I actively wanted to. The media and the online world will never grow weary of talking about it.

Had I posted something last week, almost certainly it would have admitted being tired of hearing about 9/11 before the weekend of its tenth anniversary even started. Because that's the thing about this: Although each outlet or person must do their own tribute, when put all together it gets to be a bit overwhelming.

Even back in 2001 there were only so many hours one could stay hooked on the news, and that was mostly striving to find answers (ones that arguably still have not come a decade later), before one had to try to get one's mind off the horrible thoughts. I recall that was the justification for NFL games to resume with only one weekend suspended back at the time, and I saw an article on Yahoo yesterday that suggested such a point again (although yesterday's games were a poor respite on that front, as every game had a pre-game ceremony about remembering 9/11, and all the players wore the ribbons on their jerseys, and the announcers kept alluding to 9/11 throughout the play-by-play, but at least that was only part of what one saw if one watched the entire game).

So what about those who had done their requisite remembrance, and wanted to get away from thinking about it after a while? Well, the kids programming on Nickelodeon appeared to be safe from 9/11 references, and if one really wanted to put things in perspective there was always the arguably more terrifying reality shows on E! (insert your own joke about the Kardashians here) and whatnot that may not be comforting but probably at least achieved being distracting.

And if one wished to immerse oneself in 9/11 wallowing, there was plenty of that, too.

But those who at least have some reason to cover it or have something to say can be tolerated. It's the bandwagon jumping, the giving token acknowledgment to 9/11 without any discernible connection that seems clearly only to appease those who think in jingoistic terms (if you're not touting "remembering 9/11" you're unpatriotic), that is particularly troubling.

Case in point: Food Network, which ran a large "9/11 Remembered" logo in the upper logo in the upper right part of the screen over their programs (see photo above), despite those programs having nothing to do with anything regarding the observation of the tragedy. If one looked to food as an escape (which, let's face it, is profoundly American) one got hit with a constant reminder of that which one sought to avoid; anybody else was unlikely to be watching the channel, so it seemed destined to only be a downer, associating the pleasure of food with the thought of the tragedy, ultimately achieving nothing either way.

And in their primetime evening slot, with the episode of Iron Chef America that aired, what was the secret ingredient for the battle? Canadian Lobster. (I am not making that up.) They couldn't have even aired an episode featuring something ostensibly patriotic for some tiny shred of connection to the big logo they insisted on hovering over their show.

Seeing that, I'm not sure I can declare, all these years later, that the terrorists didn't win (at least a little bit).


Yeah, I'm sure someone will shut down my internet connection again after they see this post...

1 comment:

So, what do you think?