Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Moving on

Can we please get over 9/11? Pretty please? To look at the news in America yesterday you would have thought that there was nothing else happening on the entire planet except 9/11 tributes. In New York they had a ceremony at "Ground Zero" where they read the name of every single victim. It took over 3 hours. And thousands of people stood in the streets for this!

Yes it changed the world, but more because of the effect it had on American foreign policy than anything else, and American foreign policy always has major global repercussions, because we're really really really big and we make policy mistakes proportionate to our girth.

It's time to get over it, people. It's time to stop looking backwards, time to stop with the mourning and the waterworks, the jingoism, commercialism, and all the other isms. It's time to stop allowing marketing gurus and CEOs to profit from the tragedy with all the movies, TV specials (and accompanying advertising), t-shirts, car flags, pins, posters, cards, and plastic crap. 9/11 has become one of the biggest money-making schemes in American history! I havn't seen numbers, but I would bet the farm that merchandising in the aftermath of 9/11 has generated more revenue than the last American Olympic Games. Why? Because the Olympics only lasts a few weeks, but we've managed to keep this shit going for FIVE FUCKING YEARS, PEOPLE.

Why do TV networks run all those memorial specials? Do they care about the families of the deceased? Fuck no. One word: RATINGS. And ratings means ad revenue. Every time you watch one of those morbid and morose tribute programs you're putting money into the pockets of people who are exploiting the dead. Stop it.

Stop looking backwards. Stop living in 2001. I beg you all, right now, join the rest of the world in 2006, carefully examine the most dangerous threats facing the WORLD today, not just America. Realize that while 3000 people dying in a bomb blast sucks...
  • Malaria kills 1.5 MILLION people globally every year
  • in 2003 in the US there were 16,907 deaths attributed to gun violence
  • in 2005 an estimated 2.8 million people died of AIDS, leaving 12 million children orphaned in Africa alone
  • Since the US invaded Iraq, somewhere between 41,000 and 46,000 Iraqis have been killed. (We don't know exactly because, as General Tommy Franks said, "We don't do body counts.")
  • If we don't do something drastic about global warming right now, all six billion of us are FUCKED.
So get over it, and get on with addressing the real issues.


belladona said...

Hear hear. It's not that I think 9/11 was a good thing but really, get over it. Move on. The numbers are infintesimal compared to pretty much everything else. Even if America ignored the rest of the wrold, what about New Orleans? Oh, I'm sorry, it was mainly black people so of course it isn't important.

Billy said...


Good stuff.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Billy: *bows* Thank-ee.

Belladona: I debated whether or not to include Katrina in the list, but opted not to because it, too, is a past problem, albeit one that is nowhere near to being fully rectified. I have so much to say on that one I'm saving it for another rant. A bunch of rich, white suits in NYC die and we wail for 5 effing years. A hundred thousand poor, black people are killed or left homeless and we don't give a toss. Not only is the governemtn immoral and incompetent, they're racist as fuck.

First Nations said...

agree with everything.
completely ignored the 911 shit; refused to take part. within three months time, practically before the dust settled, a nice shiny granite monument to 911 went up at every border crossing between here and canada. then they started cutting down the trees and demolishing houses for the spy-pole barrier.
and yet the government won't assist the survivors and victims of 911 in getting medical care.
fuck this regime.

Babs said...

I've been trying to comment on this ALL night (yep--have thought on it for AGES now). And each time I go to say something it turns into a post in and of itself (dutifully saved it in case I can ever get it to make sense). I'm thinking it's because I live here in NYC, so I see things a tiny bit differently.

On the one hand I agree with tons of what you said (ie: media saturation, marketing hype etc).

On the other hand I knew some of the people whose names were read. I know some of the people who read the names. And I know why they participated (or, in some cases, didn't).

Yes, as a country, it's time to move on. Individually though, it's a different story. For some of the people who stood there for three hours it's easier said than done. For these people it's the same as the mother who buries her son who was shot. Or the parents who lose their child to AIDS. Or that poor guy in New Orleans who watched his family being swept away in the water. You can't put a timeline on their grief. And theirs (the trade center folk) is more noticeable because, as you said, the media converges and, aside from that, half of them didn't get the benefit of a body to bury. So the trade center is their de facto graveyard. The ceremony is a touch much, yes, but for some of them it's all they have, and I don't begrudge them that. 3,000 odd people is a drop in the bucket compared to other world tragedies, yes. But grief is grief and, whether its a mother in Africa who has lost her chld to malaria, or a fireman's widow whose husband was crushed under a building, we can't tell them when to stop forgetting who they lost.

Sounds naive of me, I know, but that's how I sort of see it. And it wasn't just rich white suits who died, either. I knew quite a few of them.

{That last bit looks snarky in print but I can't find a way to unsnarkify it--it wasn't intentionally snarky, though}

Timorous Beastie said...

Well said, Bitch. But if Dubya and his puppeteers were to let us move on, we might forget that civilisation is under imminent attack from... guess who? Those pesky Muslims who just happen to be sitting on most of the world's the remaining oil.

ZB said...

I think it's important that we remember 9/11.

After all, it's important to America's perception of itself as a Gulliver beset by tiny lilliputians on all sides that it thinks that no-one likes it.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Babs: Please don't think I'm belittling people's genuine grief over their very personal losses. I was living in southern Connecticut at the time, and I new people who died. I had friends whose parents died. But personal grief and national grief are two different things, and the national grief needs to be put down. There comes a point when wallowing in your nation's loss becomes counterproductive, and I think we have long past that point.

Furthermore, i think the "media saturation" (good term, btw) is making it difficult for people suffering personal grief to move on. I think we're sending the message that people shouldn't accept their loss and get on with their individual lives, that they should continue to be miserable every day and never cease mourning, and I think that message is very psychologically damaging. I don't think a respectable grief counsellor would ever advocate attending rememberance services and watching footage of your loved one's death 5 years after the event as a means of healing. It's just plain creepy.

TB: we can solve our 2 biggest problems (terrorism and global warming) in one fell swoop here: ALTERNATIVE ENERGY. The only reason the Islamic terrorists have the means to blow us to Valhalla is because we keep buying their stinking, polluting oil. Lets all get solar powered cars and see how long they survive. Let 'em drink their fucking oil!

ZB: America is right about very few things, but the perception that no one likes it is probably one of them.

ZB said...

Such is the lot of all Imperial powers. The problem is that America wants people to like it. They want people of different cultures/religions/creeds/races to be thankful that America is exporting the American way (and Macdonalds) to them; they want people of different cultures/religions/creeds/races to wave the stars and stripes as America imports its cultural and political values to them wholesale but the reality is that it doesn't work like that. Imperial powers aren't liked. They get on with their job of beind transnational organisations designed to move resources about for the benefit of the Imperial hegemony. They shouldn't expect to be liked for it. America can't see why the rest of the world doesn't want to be American. It upsets them. If they just went 'Fuck it, we're going to do what we want whether you like it or not because we're the global superpower at the moment and you're not' people would respect them a lot more. It's the hypocrisy involved in America's Imperialism that disillusions people. We're for democracy and self government and apple pie. But only if it's our democracy and our self government and our apple pie that you use. You're a fucking Imperial power. Act like one, accept your responsibilites, accept that nobody likes those who do shitty but necessary jobs or get off the world stage.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

"...accept that nobody likes those who do shitty but necessary jobs..."

I fail to see the necessity behind America's current imperial behavior. We're not actually succeeding at bringing stability or democracy to any of the territories we now occupy. I agree completely that we need to accpet responsiblity for doing a shitty job!

Sal said...

> Malaria kills 1.5 MILLION people globally every year

that's because MOSQUITOES CRASH INTO THEM!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Damned Good Opinion!
Agree with Everything!

helena said...

Agree with everything so far (even what herebe said - which has to be a first) but would also like to make the point that while we concentrate 9/11 we keep alive the "terrorist threat" with which our governments are not only able to pursue foreign policies which are dubious at best and criminal at worst but also polices which closer to home impact on our own freedoms and rights. They need to rerun any feelings of grief and shock we might have, they need to keep it fresh in our memories, they need to make us think twice before we fly anywhere, or take the tube, they need us to look at all people who don't look like us as being "the enemy" because it's so much easier to control us while we're busy being scared.

Gert said...

I stayed out of the blogosphere at the time you wrote this, knowing that there would be too many posts that deserved this response but knowing that I wasn't the person to make it.

What US TV and US public sphere does is none of my business but I find the reaction of the British media to be mindless and kneejerk, considering, as you say, those deaths in Iraq. And also Afghanistan. I understand Afghanistan was supposed to be an eye for an eye, but it seems more like a heart for an eyelash. There are no programmes commemorating the dead of Afghanistan or elsewhere. It's so much easier to feel grief when we grieve for those who speak our language, into a TV camera

ZB said...

"We're not actually succeeding at bringing stability or democracy to any of the territories we now occupy..."

My point exactly. You're not succeeding at it because you have this weird underlying perception that these countries should be happy about your intervention in the fundamentals of their world and you don't understand why they aren't. But we're making the world a safer place is your mantra. As Edward Said would have noted, only in your eyes. If you want to implement regime change, if you want to win multi billion dollar contracts in your colonies and dominions to prop up your domestic economy, go ahead and do it. But don't expect to be loved for it. Don't dress it up and call it democracy and making the world a safer place because it isn't. It's Imperialism. And at least the British had the guts to hold their hands up while they succesfully did all of the things that you are now trying to do unsuccesfully and call it by its real name.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

you really were born about 150 years too late, weren't you?

ZB said...

I'm a child of my time. And a realist. And I don't buy into happy clappy liberal we're all peppers shite. Whether it was Neolithic man raiding the tribe in the next valley, the persians, the romans, the ottomans, the british or the americans, Imperialism is fact of human existence.