Sunday, September 11, 2011
September 11 and The Narrative
I'm in a motel room in Kingman, AZ. That morning 10 years ago, I was in a hotel room in Seattle, WA. Travel has been a consistent part of my life for most of my life, so it doesn't seem strange at all that I would be away from home when Something Happens.
What's strange, as I watch the coverage of the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on MSNBC, is the persistence of The Narrative. Narrative is not just Myth, it is the Whole Story now. There is nothing but The Narrative. And even more than The Narrative is the insistence that "everything changed" that day ten years ago, while everything is being done today to demonstrate continuity. Bush and Obama and Clinton have all been out and about, and the commentary is as if Bush is still in office, the pivot around which all else revolves.
"Everything changed" on that day ten years ago. They talk about "resets" -- that the events of September 11, 2001, "reset" America's relations with itself, and "reset" the American relations with the rest of the world. That's true enough. For a brief moment, the trivialities and obsessions of the past -- particularly the media's summer obsessions with sharks and missing white women -- were set aside while the shock of the attacks was endlessly chewed over...
Of course we know that sharks and missing white women would return to the summer schedule soon enough. The shame of the Chandra Levy/Gary Condit media obsession -- and the eventual denouement that hardly anyone remembers -- should have put the likes of Nancy Grace out of business forever, but if anything, the events following that summer of 2001 have only reinforced the warped and twisted freakishness of Grace and her fantasies of persecution and prosecution. The major mass media has gotten far worse, in other words, and worse in ways that make it less and less likely that the public will ever again be an active participant in government.
That's the worst part of the change that has taken place since the attacks of 9/11/2001. Our Government -- well, what used to be Our Government -- has retreated behind ever more secure barricades. In many cases, it is no longer accessible or even knowable to the American People. The participation of the American People in their government is now distinctly unwelcome -- except in the form of pre-packaged/pre-processed "movements" like the TeaBaggers, who simply scream or threaten mindlessly whatever they are told to.
You would think that the correct approach to attacks like these would be to make public participation in governance even more of necessity, but it has become a near impossibility at the Federal level, and it is becoming progressively more difficult at every other level of government.
Nothing seems to penetrate the barricades any more. It's as if nothing will be allowed to ever again.
It's as if the government used the attacks as an excuse to finalize its divorce from The People -- a divorce tendered with the lawless intervention of the Supreme Court into the election of 2000.
Even the most autocratic and totalitarian governments of the Bad Old Days were seemingly more accessible, in many cases more directly accessible (as in the case of Versailles under the Ancien Regime), than Our Government today. So something fundamental about the relationship between government and the people has changed.
Not "everything" has changed, but that has changed.
Another change related to the barricading of government away from the People is the capture of government by the financial sector. Many of the victims of the World Trade Center attacks were of course financiers; that's a big part of what went on in the World Trade Center, and what those people in those towers did for a living was a big part of what spurred the attacks. We can't pretend that's not so. We can't pretend they all were "innocent." They weren't.
They were exploiters and destroyers by trade. And the transfer of the Treasury to them began almost immediately after the attacks, such that now, nothing can be done without their approval and consent, and more and ever more of the wealth of nations -- all nations -- must be relentlessly poured into their maw. Is it atonement? I don't know. But we -- the People -- have no say in what more they will demand and extract from us and our progeny. Masters of the Universe, indeed.
I've had some conflicted feelings about the Memorial waterfalls at the WTC site.
Intellectually, it makes perfect sense. Emotionally, it's... tough. The memorial represents constant falling. Never-ending. Every minute of every day. "Never forget". What will it mean to those who didn't witness the events being memorialized?
Will they remember: Coups are easy. Revolution is hard.