the talking dog

September 11, 2003, From Me To You

Welcome to 9-11 +2.0, the second anniversary of the day used to justify tax cuts, a war of American aggression, tax cuts, and civil liberties curtailments. And tax cuts. Because the President's focus groups have shown that the best way to sell the Iraq debacle is as a continuation of the War on Terror TM ("center stage"), the rest of the world will now stay on message. That includes, of course, yesterday's Al Jazeera release of the "bin Laden" videotape that still seems too damned pat for me, and todays' worldwide terror alert by the State Department.

Of course, Al Qaeda's signature move is striking when not expected, rather than striking exactly when expected, so, for better or worse, I'm not expecting much today.

Instead, I'll just start venting, and I'll continue venting throughout the day as I feel like it.

One of the most horrible nights of my life was the night in December 2000, when the Supreme Court anointed the current Putz as President. I was well aware that the constitution required the issue of disputed electors to go to Congress, and ultimately Dubya held the tie-breakers-- but the Supreme Court insisted on making the putz "legitimate", taking the issue away from the institutions charged with the determination. Once Bush was going to be President, I intrinsically KNEW bad stuff was going to happen. And I was not disappointed in that expectation.

On 9-11-01, as many of you know, I was at my desk at 100 Church Street, one city block north of the former North Tower of the former World Trade Center, to prepare for a trial that morning. At around a quarter to nine, I heard a supersonic whine, followed by what sounded like a pop, followed by glass falling. 9-11 was on. Eventually, after counting the number of human beings who fell to their deaths in front of me, and watching the second tower explode, I walked down myself, and by a circuitous route, I wound my way home over the Manhattan Bridge.

Later that week, I lost my job, then breathed in the shit (that the EPA was pressured to tell us was safer than it was) for months, and all the rest of it. I've discussed that before. One of my clients was a fireman, who I was supposed to meet later that week. Unfortunately, he had an earlier appointment in the WTC. I discovered a college acquaintance was a Port Authority employee and perished. A friend's brother in law was on one of the planes.

It was, and still is, horrible to think about. But more horrible still to think it will all just be a justification for some of the most irresponsible policies ever undertaken by this nation. Its all too bad.

Best the occasion not be remembered at all than be remembered with mock solemnity for self-serving political purposes.

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Comparing this bunch to the Nixon administration is unfair to Nixon. Not that I was ever a stickler for fairness to Nixon.

Posted by Alex at September 11, 2003 11:59 AM


You're absolutely right, which is why I modified my post to remove the references to this Administration being the worst since the Nixon Administration (for those who encountered this post after noon EDT).

The current Administration is worse-- period. I concur with the White House reporter who called Dubya the worst President EVER. I don't know ever, but certainly the worst of MY lifetime.

By trying to use 9-11 for pandering, wars of aggression, suspension of fucking habeas corpus for God's sake, they have now taken their place as an even more evil and destructive regime than Nixon's.

And I didn't think it was possible either.

Posted by the talking dog at September 11, 2003 12:03 PM

I swear, one more reactionary asshole from a thousand miles away tells me what I'm supposed to think about this with a tone of outraged piety I'm going to shoot flames out of my nose.

I've watched too many capri-pantsed tourists at "Ground Zero" write their names in the ashes of the dead with their little fingers before heading off to find a bar.

Posted by julia at September 11, 2003 04:46 PM

Did I say fuckheads?


Posted by julia at September 11, 2003 04:48 PM


Americans come to the World Trade Center site, which is just a hole in the ground, because it's a rare occasion where those in the "hinterland" actually feel solidarity with the suffering of New Yorkers, who they otherwise believe they have little in common with.

To denigrate them as "capri-pantsed tourists" is not just elitest, but positively un-American.

The real religion of America is patriotism. While it can admittedly manifest itself in ugly, xenophobic fashion (and too often does), coming to NYC to write your name "in the ashes of the dead" is assuredly not one of them.

You want George Bush to be re-elected? Keep mocking Americans who are guilty of nothing more than not having your fashion sense or ironic vision of the world and you'll guarantee four more years of misery for yourself and New York City.

Democrats and liberals need to stop feeling that any manifestation of patriotism equates with small-mindedness. I agree that much of George Bush's invocation of patriotism is just cynical manipulation, and that he often equates any questioning of his policies with being a traitor.

But that's George Bush and his Administration. And dare I venture that not many of them would be caught dead ever wearing capri pants or voluntarily going to NYC?


Posted by LB at September 11, 2003 05:54 PM

You know, the early readers of this blog from way back in 9-01 (in a week, we'll have blogoversary II here at the talking dog), will note that for a while I was BEGGING PEOPLE to come to New York to spend money; I don't know how many of my then 7 or 8 readers took me up on it.

Tourism is, if not our largest industry, damn well one of our largest industries. So all I can say to other Americans who want to come to New York, whether to pay their respects at Ground Zero or for any other reason besides committing crimes here, is "bring 'em on".

I think Julia's point is that sanctimony about the events of 9-11 (whether from New Yorkers or non-New Yorkers) is inappropriate, and in many cases, distasteful. And trying to score political points from it is worse still. I don't disagree with that, as I think the remainder of my posts today show.

Posted by the talking dog at September 11, 2003 06:27 PM

Actually, Julia's point, "too many capri-pantsed tourists at 'Ground Zero' write their names in the ashes of the dead with their little fingers before heading off to find a bar," was one of pure condescension.

She might consider that people who disagree with her are not necessarily "reactionary assholes" any more that she's an unpatriotic apologist.

Rather, they disagree with her and have been far more effective than her own political allies have been in amassing and maintaining political power.

Whether or not that has anything to do with East Coast elitism, I'll let you be the judge.

Posted by LB at September 11, 2003 07:29 PM

Actually, Julia's point is that she went down to the site not too much after the main fires went out and watched giggling teenagers add their tags to the graffiti written in the ashes of the dead.

They've been down there every time I've been down there since.

Vas you dere, Sharlie? Then don't talk to me about What my point is, and for the love of all that's holy take a moment and ponder the idea that you're claiming to speak for all of America and everything that's patriotic and then call me an elitist.

My political allies? Get real.

Posted by julia at September 11, 2003 08:47 PM

I'm hardly claiming to speak for "all of America and everything that's patriotic".

You were, admit it or not, speaking of tourists in your original comments, not teenagers. I hardly think anyone takes too seriously teenagers acting like teenagers, whether at the World Trade Center or elsewhere. And, if indeed you were speaking about teenagers foolishly writing their names in the ashes, I'd suggest that you're overreacting and are as guilty of "outraged pieties" as any "reactionary asshole from a thousand miles away."

Elitism comes in many forms. The idea that just because someone wasn't in New York on September 11, 2001; or lives 1,000 miles away; or wears capri pants; or has different politics from you, doesn't make them reactionary, or "fuckheads", as you so delicately put it.

But it certainly does provide evidence of a glib, New York elitism -- the idea that the Midwest begins at the Hudson River -- and I think that on this or any other day, New York does not benefit from such an attitude.

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