I‘ve been thinking about September 11th recently. The seven year anniversary recently occurred, of course, and with it came a slew of execrably silly tributes, from Second Life to a silver $20 commemorative bill. I’m not from
I went to school that day. What else was I to do? My friends and I all stood and talked in hush tones before class. We knew that something big was happening, but we weren’t exactly sure what this would mean. Every class watched the news all day. There was nothing else to do.
Again, I am from a small town, and while I’ve been to
I know people, though, who grew up in the city, and I’ve heard stories of men walking up from downtown covered head to toe in ash. About how the subways and busses weren’t running because no one knew what was going on, and how every missed call seemed like an emergency where families would be lost. Even in my small town, panic had set in. People at school were worried that a terrorist attack would happen at the local university’s sports dome. It’s actually silly, but no one knew what was going on. It wasn’t really a sense of terror, but instead a sort of realization that bad things could happen. Something unknowable had been made real, and in the face of that no one really knew what to do.
I’ve been listening to the Steinski song that he made as a tribute to Sept 11, “Number Three on Flight Eleven”, which used the voice recording of an airline stewardess on one of the flights talking about what’s going on. It’s a poignant, terrifying piece, and it’s really affecting. It’s interesting to note not just the extent to which Sept 11 changed the national-political worldview (in terms of rhetoric as well as foreign policy) or subtly changes cultural pieces (where art starts developing new themes of paranoia and fear of the Other), but also how pieces explicitly about Sept 11 are framed. From The Rising to Pete Miser’s “Might Be” to Talib Kweli’s “The Proud” (which places Sept 11 in a narrative of the breakdown of the American conscience stretching through the Oklahoma City bombing through the murder of Amadou Diablo by NYPD), not to mention things like United 93 or The 9/11 Commission Report, the outright confrontation of a specific moment in our history is usually treated with mourning and sadness.
A common trend in our contemporary historical narrative which I personally cannot stand is to look at historical moments as breaking points; to assume that the there was a “pre-event” and a “post-event” world, and that one specific incident caused a rift. Of course history is contingent on a multitude of factors (in this instance the
What I really want to say here, though, is that before Sept 11
How I long for