Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years On

[F]rankly, after a decade of living in a nation governed by one party that is willing to use fear and terror to further its own agenda and another so terrified of that party that it refues to call the sky blue if the other one says it's yellow, I just don't want to relive the last decade. And while New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has taken a lot of crap for limiting the invited guests to Sunday's memorial to the families of those lost, Sunday really should be for them, not for those of us who only had to watch it on TV and then get on with our lives.
- My long-time friend and hero Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast
And now ten years have passed. It seems simultaneously like the blink of an eye and an entire lifetime. Aside from airport security and some economic setbacks and revivals, my own sphere has been little affected by the attacks. And for most Americans, if they really want to tell the truth, neither have theirs. This entire week has been an orgy of a weird self-congratulatory combination of picking open the wound again and enjoying the spectacle one more time. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to have lost someone ten years ago and once again be unable to open a newspaper without seeing a photograph of the Twin Towers burning with your brother, or son, or spouse, or sister, or father or mother inside.
- Jill again
We each have our own private memories of September 11, 2001. I certainly have mine... the bus ride home to the terrible images on the television. The comfortlessness of a candle in the window. The horror and anger of the people I was chatting with online.

Those are painful memories. I grieve again, writing this.

But what I resent, what makes me upset and angry in a helpless and unhelpful way, is [what] pundits and politicians are trying to do to our memories of that day... It feels to me that the media wants to overwrite our own recollection, our own reactions and considerations, with their carefully packaged interpretations: clash of cultures, fanatics rather than faithful, they hate our freedom, they're just like us, they're nothing like us, they're a 'them' rather than part of 'us'...

Furthermore, this is not being done in the pursuit of art, or even of entertainment. Indeed, it is not being done for our benefit at all. We are being farmed for our anger, fertilized with the same images over and over again, that we may come ripe on election days and when the pollsters call.

I'm not interested in being part of that. I've lost enough already.
- Abi Sutherland at Making Light

I'm sure I'll have other citations throughout the day, as I push to get through my blog reading again. In the meantime I'll just say that, for myself, I'm actively going to stay away from any and all televised anniversary "festivities" (yes, Michael Kaye actually used that word) today; I scarcely need constant commercialized reminders of a day that's seared into my New York soul on such a deep, visceral level that a huge part of me wishes, almost blasphemously, that it would Just Go Away.

(Speaking of commercialization, the incomparable April Winchell shares some commentary here, here and here on that most American of tendencies, the desire to make a profit from tragedy.)

And I'll put up my usual remembrance, Robin's piece "Hope Takes Wing":

Lastly, today would have been Leah Adezio's birthday, and not a day goes by that I don't miss her too.


Dwight Williams said...

Amen, Elayne.