Monday, September 12

Remembering 9/12

The Washington Post editorial board, "Don't underestimate what America has achieved since 9/11". 9-9

THANKS are what I guess are in order to ‪ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©‬ for the above link, and certainly to Suffern AC for the capsule description: "the most important thing to do this day was to shield the elite from criticism."

I don't remember who said that Sentimentality was other people's sentiments, and it was either Doctor Swift or Doctor Johnson who said "Obsequies are always mixed with infusion of poppy." Or it was someone else. I'd look it up, but my quote collection is on Hypercard, and I'm not gonna go plug in the graphite iMac, and find a keyboard, just so I can open it. Not until Apple apologizes.

Anyway, maybe it's just me, but if you want to remember, really remember, the Fallen of that day then you watch a documentary, you look at something that happened in between the planes flying into the Towers and the subsequent shocking collapse that much of the mythology is based on; you share a moment or two in that polarscape of ash with people unable to fully comprehend the scope of what had happened, and no clue about how much bigger it would become, very, very soon. The people--fire, police, civilian--who went, as the popular parlance has it, Up, not Down that day, weren't doing so for America, or "America". They were doing it for their fellow human beings. What it had to do with turning the playing field at Cowboys Stadium into a temporary prop flag I do not know. The impulse to easy patriotic display seems all but irresistible to the profit-driven.

I mean, I don't really care what Chris Berman and Tom Jackson think about 9/11. I care about who won the late games. I'm sure their expressions were heartfelt, but I'm not sure they should bring their show to a halt every time an anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Pearl Harbor, the Normandy Invasion, Washington's Farewell, the Kennedy Assassination, Marbury v. Madison, or the Gadsden Purchase is divisible by five. The one thing I would like to ask is: can we please get rid of Tom Brokaw before the next one? If the humanitarians among us wish Mr. Brokaw a long and happy life, then let's just agree not to celebrate 9/11 again until it's over.

For fuck's sake, the man is a walking Whitman's Sampler of What's Fucked Up About the Culture. At the time of the 9/11 attacks he was making maybe $15 mil a year for reading a teleprompter--which he can't even do in English--and doing vanity reports, and he wants credit for coming in to work early that day. And he had to come into work early because the Today Show hosts--Catie and Matt--had zero gravitas about them, or just the right amount for a program NBC wanted to be gravitas-free. And once he got there he announced we were at War. or, as he put it, "Wah-ah." Imagine Cronkite or Huntley-Brinkley doing that at the height of the Cawd Wah-ah a half-hour after an ammo dump blew up.

But they were reporters, and had a serious attitude about the reach of television; Brokaw is a ratings monkey. Brokaw and Peter Jennings were the first two Q-ratings anchors. Both rose after the News was taken over by Entertainment, both climbed the ladder at networks which were furiously paddling Right in an effort to catch the Silent Majority slipstream and rise to ratings semi-respectability, and both arrived at the top just in time to curl up in Ronald Reagan's grandfatherly lap. Jennings actually became a journalist after that. Brokaw became a corporation.

Just get him off the fucking air. He can write all the stupid pandering books he wants, just so someone else reads the audio version. But, fuck, the man has nothing in his head corresponding to an original thought. His is the wisdom of the man who created the fourth-largest regional grommet manufacturer starting with only the Mom & Pop grommet sweatshop his parents left him.

Fred Hiatt the WaPo Editorialistes:
ON THE 10TH anniversary of al-Qaeda’s attack on New York and Washington, the conventional wisdom seems to be evolving from “We will be hit again” to “Osama bin Laden won by provoking us into a decade of overreaction.”

What channel was that on?
The feeling is understandable but incorrect, and it would be dangerous if it took hold. Yes, the nation made big mistakes over the past decade. When has America ever geared up without excess and error? But the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon alerted Americans to genuine dangers that only a relative few had noticed. We have lived safely for the decade since not because we misread those dangers but because we responded to them in a manner in which, on balance, Americans can take pride.

Yeah, about $500 billion each to make sure Qusay and Uday, or Qumoy and Mtsu, didn't succeed their father as Unfriendly President with a Bunch of Oil and a Third-World Sandhole, and another $500 billion to kill bin-Laden. I guess we can take pride in the fact that we're too ethical to've just offered $100 mil to the first person to bring us bin-Laden's head. We could have had the motherfucker in a week, except, of course, that it took that long to locate George W. Bush. Just because a straightforward approach to a criminal act probably would have netted us something closer to justice, in much less time, and at an exponentially lesser cost in innocent lives is no reason to be too hard on ourselves now. Just because we ignored the Geneva Conventions so we could slake our bloodlust, but keep our hands clean, is not excuse to run around contemplating our navels. Just because al-Qaeda turned out to be one guy with a bunch of oil residual money, a Commodore 64, and a porn stash doesn't mean it wasn't SPECTRE, once, and couldn't be again. Hey, we heard credible threats about the Tenth Anniversary! Didn't we?

9 comments:

the yellow fringe said...

As 9/11 approached some of the local churches lit their electric billboards with nationalistic sloganeering. That really sunk me, that we are turning this into a jubilee of flags and crosses. Without a doubt Hallmark is working on cards, Disney on a new ride, and somewhere a composer is rehearsing a new dirge to dispirit the atmosphere and puff up the past.

Brokaw, at least he was no Brian Williams.

Anonymous said...

“the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon alerted Americans to genuine dangers that only a relative few had noticed.”

Other than the White House Advisor on terrorism, who wrote a memorandum detailing such dangers merely a month before 9-11!

prairie curmudgeon said...

Group think in group think out. Whatever, we'll always stick our hand into the trap we set for ourselves in the inescapable corner of the best bad choice descending from the long black line of previous best bad choices.

David in NYC said...

Every time I see Tom Brokaw's smug visage on the tubes, I think of two things: (1) the SNL parody of his trying to say "Libyan leader's line of death", and (2) the movie Broadcast News, because the William Hurt character is Tom Brokaw -- well, before he became "Tom Brokaw, Chronicler of The Greatest Generation".

Speaking of which, when do you suppose Mr. Brokaw will tell us how The Greatest Generation managed to do all that Greatest stuff with a maximum marginal income tax of 91%?

I kid, of course.

Li'l Innocent said...

What Anonymous said. It's like Yeats: The best lack effect except to yell and point, while the worst occupy seats of power like giant granite toilets.

satch said...

Brokaw is required to make the point at least three times a year that "America is a center right nation" in order to have his Media Hack Emeritus ticket punched. Brokaw is the butch (barely) Cokie Roberts.

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Anonymous said...

Brokaw is the only person who could turn 'Israel' into a seven-syllable word. Unbelieveable that he read the news for a living.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Fred Hiatt, strike the WaPo Editorialistes:

I'd say Fred Hiatt and his deputy war-monger, Jackson Diehl, were responsible for that bit of "everybody else knows we were shamelessly wrong, but Jackson and I control the editorial page".

And that's why it's The War Criminal Post (well, that, and all the op-ed space given to Cheney and company over the years, not to mention the job given to torture enthusiast Marc Thiessen).
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