Friday, September 08, 2006

The Path to 9/11 + 5

My gosh, the big box media are gushing all over themselves and their viewers working the five year anniversary into a froth of slobbering sentiment. There may indeed be some political value in all this attention and commemorating and memorializing (and even, horrors! Already! dramatizing, fictionalizing, nay... ) The fear-mongering war lords are eating this stuff up. They say they disdain bloodshed and lap it up.

And there may, for the broader culture, be some emotional and psychological "value" in paying so much attention to this "milestone," just as there is for cancer patients who can consider themselves "cancer free" after five years. We feel relief thinking we're not now in the throes of those dark days. Perhaps we have overcome something after all, survived the jihadist curse. But cancer free doesn't necessarily mean free from cancer itself, returning in the same or some other form. It doesn't mean the cancer survivor is finished with cancer. Everything is tentative and fragile. What goes around may indeed come around.

But this rehashing is about ratings, not preparedness. It's about sucking in millions of viewers, not calls to action or insights into real security. And still so little light is shed on the dark sides of the forces involved, whether they be "friend" or "foe," the talking heads in the Land of the Free or, elsewhere, down dusty alleyways with jerky camera angles and grainy footage, the "evildoers."

So the media and the Security R Us politicians have a lot to gain, perhaps. But let's get this straight. There is no "news" value in these anniversaries and all their saccharine schmaltz. If we were being taught some new and better, more accurate history lessons, maybe. But that sort of wisdom and revelation doesn't seem to be in the works.

It is the fear and the mystery that are selling, not, even five years later, much better understanding.


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