Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11: Ten Years Later, Enough 'Terror Porn.' It Is Time To Move On

This is perhaps the one day of the year where I'd love to read nothing but nonsense about Justin Bieber. Along with the political grandstanding, the endless tearing off of the scab from a terrible event 10 years ago and the fact that the impossibly politically strangled World Trade Center site has yet to come close to resurrection, September 11 is a day I dread.

One year ago, I wrote here that it's time to "acknowledge quietly, privately." But instead, as The Village Voice reports, on this 10th anniversary of 9/11, in addition to Presidents Obama and Bush, "Governors Cuomo and Christie, among other politicians, have been jockeying with the mayor for pride of place at the Bloomberg-run ceremony to score valuable camera time at a charged event that's valuable to politicians—much as the 40-plus TV specials, complete with 'investigations' of twins lost in the twin towers and endless ads featuring terror porn of the planes striking the towers are somehow supposed to be in the 'public interest'."

Ten years ago, from the rooftop of my Brooklyn Heights apartment building, I saw the Twin Towers fall first-hand. Today, I am so very weary of watching them collapse again and again under the guise of "news" or "special reports."

This year's onslaught of "anniversary" recollections has drenched the point of dignity, instead drowning in absurdity: I don't really care what the now-10-year-old children of 9/11 remember; the "unborn of 9/11" have nothing to do with the actual events of the day; "the women of 9/11" are no less relevant than the men. It's niche upon hyper-niche... nothing but ratings and hype and sensationalism. September 11 has become little more than an issue of OK! magazine, with the added indignity that it is all "based on real events."

Now... can we please stop reading the names of the deceased? For god's sake, let the dead rest in peace (along with the rest of New York). Might we stop calling it Ground Zero? And pray tell, what reason is there for an "official 9/11 Memorial Flag"? Only those selling souvenirs could possibly find that relevant.

Then there's the on-site memorial—an outrageously large hole in the footprint of the original Twin Towers—the most gruesome, distasteful remembrance of those who lost their lives I can imagine. I find it a monumental overstatement that overshadows hope this nation has for looking toward a fearless future at the site of the Freedom Tower and its alleged someday sister buildings (not to mention the primarily taxpayer-funded $1 billion price tag for the waterfall memorial and accompanying underground museum).

Until we treat September 11 as a personal remembrance, sans the tirade of headlines and replays of photographs and video clips, America—and more so, New York—is being forced to relive the past over and again.

My grandmother's only son (my mother's brother), an Air Force pilot, was killed in WWII—the uncle I never knew. I imagine she mourned his death for the rest of her life—but without demanding national fanfare or his name shouted out on TV every year or certainly a gargantuan pit "to remember"—or more troubling, to visit his remains.

It is time to move on.