Monday, September 11, 2006

Obligatory 9/11 Anniversary Post

Ceremonies are useful for helping people deal with loss. I’ve attended plenty of funerals where I never even knew the deceased, but I knew someone close to the deceased and so attended the funeral to support somebody I cared about in his hour of grief.

I’ve been asked to attend funerals, but I’ve never been asked to attend a five-year anniversary ceremony in remembrance of one. And if any friends of mine asked me to, I’d tell them in all honesty that they should strongly consider the possibility they’re being morbid to the point of unhealthiness.

The only good thing about the 9/11 memorials going on today is that nobody’s rehashing the tired old “Pearl Harbor” metaphor, probably because five years after Pearl Harbor the war it spawned had been over for more than a year, and our side unequivocally won. How long will America repeatedly pick at the scabs of 9/11 and then express surprise that the scabs we keep picking refuse to heal?

EDIT: While commenting yesterday on Jim Henley's excellent blog, I finally realized why we're making such a fetish out of 9/11: we have no victories to celebrate, so instead we brag of our defeats.


Blogger rhhardin said...

It's not picking at scabs. It's soap opera. It holds audience and so is commercially viable.

The lesson of 9/11 isn't that people died but that modern weapons are too dangerous to let Islamo-nutballs thrive anywhere in the world, starting now.

3,000 people is nothing. 100,000 die every day, on an ordinary day, 10,000 in the US.

And we can do without the WTC. It was an eyesore anyway.

The point is the war on terror, not ratings for networks, or a soap opera fix for tragedy economizers who can get entertainment for themselves out of it.

The point of sympathy (``sorry about your father'') is not to say you're sorry - you're not sorry at all - it's to cut the guy some slack in his social obligations for a while. It says that he doesn't have to laugh at the same joke he's heard a thousand times as if he found it funny again, and that his work project can safely be late. He has a use for that, and that's why it's offered.

If it's not somebody you know, your lugubrious empathy is you entertaining yourself, emotionally jerking off. Think of flowers for Princess Di.

Oh, say, you have to pay $4.95 for it, but there was a nice NYT piece on the Princess Di effect, ``Diana's Death Resonates with Women in Therapy'' by Jane Gross, Sept 13 1997

The event showed the future business model for network news.

The 100,000 people who die every day : each one is probably important to somebody, but it's different somebodies, and it becomes an event in life in general, part of its tragedy in general. To pick out the deaths of strangers and obsess on them is fetishistic, not part of life at all.

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Jeff P. said...

As for "no victories,"
We haven't won a war since the Pentagon was finished.

7:33 AM  

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