I’m reprinting this post from a year ago… Which is kinda lazy, but I really don’t have anything to add to it and nothing has really changed. Well, ok, the commercialism has gotten worse, but aside from that, it still remains relevant enough to justify reposting it.
In the span of
nine ten years, remembrance of this day has become increasingly scummy, crazy and exploitative. Rallies, tv programs, and trinket marketers are all selling something on the back of a national tragedy and telling us it’s “remembrance.” Whether it’s crappy merchandise made in China, a political ideology, religious doctrine or tv ratings-bait, the day has been turned into marketing fodder.
For me, it was a very bad day- But it’s not the worst day of my life by any degree. I wasn’t in imminent danger of dying. I wasn’t running out of a burning building. I didn’t have to wonder if my city was next. And none of my friends were in danger either. Yeah, it was really fucking bad. But it wasn’t running-for-my-life-in-the-light-of-a-fireball bad.
I have ptsd from some other events that do make up the “Worse Days List” and I really understand why actual survivors of those attacks want everyone to mourn or otherwise mark the day as a living monument of tragedy. You rightly resent the shallow normalcy that makes up a typical day in America, occurring on the day.
PTSD isn’t in my opinion an illness of misperception, but of accurate perception, it’s waking up from the Matrix of denial and knowing, in a real first-hand sense, how instantaneous horror can be. Most people go through their lives thinking tragedy just can’t happen to them. They get their horror from entertainment and just don’t ever wake up from the soft dream of security. But the reality is that your day can go from happy and safe, to “Living-Nightmare-Hell-On-Earth-Unfolding-In-An-Unending- Montage-Of-Horror” in literally 15 seconds. And if you’ve never experienced that, you’ll never really understand what horror actually means. PTSD in a lot of cases, is knowing that terror and horror in a first-hand way and not ever being able to return to the Matrix of everyday denial.
So on one hand, if you’ve experienced that sort of horror, you’d like the world to mark the day in solemn remembrance, as a sort of living dent in the privileged denial that you no longer experience. The problem… Is that it’s not possible. Everyone was affected by that day but not to the level as the people who witnessed it first-hand or had to run for their lives. That undercurrent of emotion, slowly fading in intensity but cutting across the population, makes it a perfect target for vultures to exploit. The emotions that you remember experiencing during that day are seen as quick doorways to be exploited in order to sell shit.
These pig-fuckers throw rallies to sell an ideology on the graves of the dead and the dented lives of the survivors. The media, for which even I am running out of profanity to describe, are playing endless loops of that day in order to get ratings off your remembered emotions. And an endless parade of trinket sellers are selling plates, towel sets, clocks, and yeah, even guns as a “memorial” to that day. Those scum can get away with it because our emotions from that day are strong, but they’re not anything like a survivor’s will be. And every year it will get worse until finally the day is allowed to be laid to rest as history.
It’s been nine years. People who are actual survivors and primary witnesses should have room to remember and grieve in their own ways. But the nation should respect that process and not co-opt it with sales-pitches, endless loops of people dying on film, and fucking commemorative crap. The one thing worse than forgetting a tragedy is fucking exploiting and co-opting it for personal/political gain.
We should all remember, but for the vast majority of us, 9/11 needs to be allowed the quiet dignity of becoming just another day.
Go Back From Whence Thee Came.