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September 11, 2007

I think you better quit talking that shit, punk

I'm angry today.

I'm not angry because it's September 11th and therefore I'm mad at the Bad People who blew up the World Trade Center. I'm not angry about how the fabric of our nation was torn asunder, and we lost our collective innocence, and all that blather.

I'm angry about how there's this idea that honoring the anniversary of the event is what should be done, and I'm angry that the media are learning, are CONSTRUCTING, a way to package up the pain and fear and confusion of 9/11/2001 into digestible chunks that we're meant to take once a year as a sort of inoculation to ward off the Bogeyman.

Six years later is but a moment; I don't need help remembering how it felt to walk down Atlantic Avenue with Francis, watching charred scraps of business documents flutter to the sidewalk, or how it smelled for weeks (even to me, with my terrible sense of smell), or how I had to learn to *not* duck when planes flew overhead, or how I felt sitting with our friend and her beautiful, strong, towheaded 2-year-old who suddenly needed a steroid inhaler (like all the other kids in his playgroup). I can rattle that all off the top of my head.

I don't need any reminding about the fragility of life, thank you. And neither should anyone else. We are not safe now; we were not safe then; we are not ever safe. Now is the only moment that matters. It has always been true that our loved ones might not come home at the end of the day. People who pay attention *today*, because it's September 11 again, are like children scaring each other around a dying campfire, or watching Doctor Who from behind the couch; they're like folks who take their horror in two-hour doses on flickering screens in the dark.

Horror is all around us. Risk is everywhere. And while some of that risk comes from violent self-righteous people who want to kill us because "American" has come to mean a lot of stuff I wish it didn't, so much more of that risk comes from the fundamental absurdity and danger of everyday life.

Life is precarious and fragile and precious. If the media maundering today helps anyone realize that, then perhaps it's not a waste. But I think it's much more likely to serve as a an anesthetic, something to muffle the keening wail of loss that is the music of the cosmos.

Posted by Rose at 12:49 PM | Comments (4)