Yesterday I was sick with the beginning of a cold that my immune system seems, luckily, to be fighting off really well, but it meant that in the morning I was too ill to even move around and all I could do was plant myself in front of the tv. On the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Oh yeah baby.
I'm not so stupid or naive that I couldn't have anticipated that it was not going to be a deeply affecting, sensitive and thoughtful day of programming, but it left me feeling both deeply depressed and angry.
Most of the time, when you see some horrible disaster unfolding on TV there is excitement that goes with the horror. I remember feeling that excitement being so overshadowed by the horror that it might as well not have been there that day. I have lived a sheltered and lucky life and that was by far the most awful thing my eyes have ever seen.
A lot of people I think in the immediate afterwards tried to find some comfort in the idea that at least, the horror we had all witnessed would have drawn us sharply back to our common humanity, to the minimum denominator we all shared, and force us in a way we would not have wished to have compassion forced upon us.
Boy, were we wrong.
Being stuck in front of the tv I saw a lot of tackiness. It takes a lot of effort to turn people reading the names of the dead, including their own, into tackiness, but tv managed it. You think: it's been ten years. Those people are still grieving - in some cases, they are forced to go on grieving - but the rest of us are trying to dredge up feelings for strangers. It is forcing us to feel a compassion that is, in this case, fake. We are intruding on their grief, like emotional vampires, to keep alive that little flame of excitement that was so small back then.
There are heroes and villains, and victims, here. The guys who rooted with bare hands in the rubble to find bits and pieces of corpses, I did not realise until today what they were doing. In many cases they knew they were putting their health at risk, and not even for saving lives, but in a heroic act of respect for the dead and the grieving.
The villains, well, we know who they are. And one of the things they did is besmirch the feeling of common humanity, of compassion and heroism, and now every time there is a remembrance of the dead you know that most of them are not celebrated and reading their names out loud would take just too fucking long:
As I said on twitter, the nadir for me was the montage of footage of the day with saccharine soundtrack. James Taylor's song was also pretty bad but hey, that's a matter of taste. It could conceivably have been remedied by adding, to those appropriate choir as the national anthem and Amazing Grace, some of the other tunes America is famous for, I don't know, This Land Is Your Land, or maybe Born in The USA.
Eventually, I turned to Poirot and started working to fix my polka dots shirt to fit me better. It felt like a better use of my time.
Kind to animals
- Another of those days