Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Tragedy Hollywood Style

I’m approaching 40, and every now and then, something random and innocuous gives me a jolt of realization regarding my impending decrepitude. Today I realized there are things that have occurred during my life that have no meaning or relevancy for some of my peers. Events that are just dates in history to them, stand out with visceral clarity in my memory.

I remember the Bicentennial. It was a marketing goldmine and everything from lunchboxes to dishtowels were emblazoned with the red, white and blue ’76 logo. I remember when Elvis died, and though nobody in our house cried, I got that it was a pretty big deal. I remember when Mark David Chapman shot Lennon and when John Hinkley Jr. shot Reagan the same year he took office. I remember the first Iran hostage crisis, though I didn’t understand much beyond the fact that bad people were hurting good people. I remember Sally Ride’s first ride, and I remember watching the Challenger explode over and over on an enormous wood grain television perched precariously on a metal stand in the high school media center. I remember when Superman could walk. I remember watching O.J. drive his white Bronco through the streets of L.A. as I drank and laughed with friends in a bar, never guessing at the tragedy that had befallen the Simpson, Brown and Goldman families that day.

I remember the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993; the year I got married. We traveled to Europe for our honeymoon and as we disembarked at Heathrow International Airport, I remember being both startled and comforted by the sight of soldiers carrying machine guns. It was then that I realized the whole world was afraid.

The later in my life these events occurred, the more salient they are, and the more profound are the emotions that they excite. Perhaps it is just the frailty of memory that blunts the edges of fear and dismay, or perhaps it is the awareness that comes with age; sentience that makes the horror and brutality all the more crushing. Whatever the case, I believe that the events of September 11, 2001 will always arouse in me a deep and enduring sadness and sense of loss that cannot be equaled.

That day started just like any other for me. I got the children up and dressed and took them to school. There was no sense of foreboding, no prescience of anything that would haunt America and the world for years to come. It was a bright and sunny day, but my only thought was of crawling back into bed. I was sick with a horrible cold, and so, when I returned home, I didn’t turn on the television or the radio, but slept the morning away until it was time to pick up my youngest, who attended half day pre-school. I remember the phone ringing quite a few times through my antihistamine stupor, but I ignored it; too sick to care about who was calling.

When at last I did arise, the phone was ringing once again, and I snatched it off the hook in irritation. It was my husband, and what he told me changed my life and that of every United States citizen, forever. When I picked up my son from school, he hopped two footed into the van, his little yellow school bag swinging from his arm. He was full of chatter about his day, oblivious to the world falling apart around him. I held him in a desperate embrace; needing him close to me, and seeking comfort from a four year old child who had no idea why his Mommy was weeping.

Today I saw a news story about the movie United 93, which will be in theatres April 28th. Apparently, the trailer for this movie has caused such a strong backlash that it has been banned in some theatres. According to this news story, movie goers were heard to shout “Too soon! Too soon!” in response to the powerful emotions it evoked, and people left the theatres sobbing, rather than endure the horror all over again, even if only for just a few moments.

Is it too soon???

The Holocaust took place nearly 60 years ago, and still the world mourns. Still, for some, it is too soon. Even someone who was not alive to witness the events as they unfolded cannot help but be deeply touched by the suffering and the inhumanity that one man wrought with his hatred. And even today, the telling of these events affects us profoundly. Whether it is first person narrative or a semi-fictional retelling, these tales telegraph suffering and sorrow with powerful efficacy. And we understand with perfect, sickening certainty that it should never be allowed to repeat itself.

I can hardly sit through "Schindler’s List" or "Life Is Beautiful" without dissolving into a puddle of tears. But while the events of the Holocaust are undeniably barbarous and acutely emotional, they are not personal. I have the luxury of perspective and the benefit of hindsight to temper those feelings. I have no such pretension in regard to the events of September 11, 2001. For me, it is still a raw and sucking wound. For me, it is too soon.

We should never, ever forget. But the pain is yet too fresh to bear such reminding. And I worry about the artistic liberties that will be taken with a story that demands truth in the telling, if there is such a thing. The people who lived and died that day deserve to have their story told with conscience and sensitivity, without any thought to profit or accolades.

America is not yet ready to be beguiled from her grief and fear by the celluloid stylings of Hollywood. America is not yet ready to say happily ever after. If that day ever comes, it will be because we have learned to reconcile the past in our own way; not because we have been sold a slick and polished bill of goods all wrapped up with a tidy little ending.

Too soon, Hollywood. Too soon.
Because this still destroys me....


Tribute: America Attacked

5 Comments:

  • At 8:58 AM, Blogger Wander said…

    Your memory is off by one year, it was Sept 11, 2001 not 2002 as you have in your post.

     
  • At 9:37 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Heh. That was a typo, and I could have sworn I changed it. Thanks for pointing it out.

     
  • At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Nancy said…

    I agree, it's definitely too soon. Whenever there's a new finding or news item related to 9/11, I feel in some ways like I am reliving it again.

    Like you, I don't know when wounds will heal. All I know is that nearly 5 years is still not enough time.

     
  • At 1:20 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    I agree with Nancy... Five years is not enough time. You can blink and five years has gone by and you're left wondering what happened to 2001. Or 2002, '03, '04, or '05 for that matter.
    And, contrary to popular belief, time does not heal all wounds.

     
  • At 8:56 PM, Blogger IzzyMom said…

    I'm certain I'll never forget the hours surrounding the first news bulletins on 9/11 nor will I forget the horror unfolding over and over on TV for months to come. It's entirely too soon for Hollywood to try and cash in on that horror.

     

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