Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Not food Related - Fiction will always be inadequate

Does anyone read the Foobiverse livejournal? It's a complete hoot. It's basically a bunch of people ripping on the For Better or for Worse comic strip. So yesterday the host does something different. She writes about where she was and what she was doing on September 11, 2001 and asks others to write in about their whereabouts and what they are doing now. It's probably the most moving memorial to the events of September 11 I've ever encountered. A lot of people wrote in about the loved ones they lost. A lot talked about how their lives changed even though they had no direct connection to the terrorist attacks. For everyone who posted September 11 was something that happened to them. It changed the fabric of their being in profound ways. One poster wrote, "Before 9-11, I didn't think anyone hated the US as much as al-Qaeda does. Now I'm much more concerned with the view of America abroad, and I don't have the sense of security I once had."

We as a nation experience September 11, 2001 together. We were all fixed to the tv trying to find out what happened. It was what we all talked about for the weeks following. For some it got us in conversations about our country's role in the world. For others it brought up feelings of building more walls and barriers. However we processed it we were all processing about the same event.

So why do we need fiction? I'm not talking about an artistic response to September 11 but FICTION. Made up stories that didn't happen. Dramatizations of real people as if the real people and the real story wasn't powerful enough. I have assiduously avoided any kind of movie, made for tv movie, or mini-series that had to do with September 11. It just feels so stupid to make people PAY MONEY to experience a fictionalized version of the reality we all experienced. Why do people need to put such an immense national tragedy in a box?

Knowing that movies about 9/11 turn my stomach in general, ABC's Path to 9/11 was beyond nauseating. This went beyond interpolating the feelings and experiences of a firefighter or plane passengers, this was making shit up about the policy decisions that affected finding or not finding Osama Bin Laden. That's like making a movie about Franklin Roosevelt calling Emperor Hirohito to ask him to bomb Pearl Harbor because Roosevelt didn't want it getting out he was cheating on Eleanor. Beyond the crass fictionalizing is the fact that this stupid movie was billed as being based on the 9/11 Commission's Report and having advertisement saying crap like "what REALLY happened on 9/11." That part is hilarious since it left out Cheney hiding out in a bunker and Bush reading My Pet Goat for 7 minutes.

September 11, 2001, I had just ended a job and would start another one the following week. It was a gorgeous day and I was looking forward to my week of relaxation. J kissed me goodbye before he went to work and I made myself the big pancake breakfast I couldn't have made myself on a workday. I turned on the tv and saw the big gaping hole in one of the twin towers. I stared at the screen and watched the other tower get hit and both towers collapsing. Like I do in every major event of my life, I called anyone and everyone I could get in touch with. That day I was kind of separated from the rest of the world because going out just felt weird. J came home around 2:00 pm. Downtown was a mess and by that time, DC took it's own hit with the Pentagon being smashed into. Buses were packed but what was overflowing was the milk of human kindness. J was saying that left and right people were beckoning their fellow commuters into their cab. J coming home when he did was the direct result of that kind of kindness. Some friends came over and we watched the continuing coverage together. I spent Tuesday glued to the cable news networks, trying to see if there was anything new. Bill Clinton talking intelligently about terrorism was a balm for me. By the end of Tuesday I had to stop watching the news.

Wednesday I turned on the Food Network. I know it's a day late, but where were you on September 11, 2001?


rebecca 1.0 said...

this is the only september 11 related anything i've been able to read. thank you.

ScottE. said...

woke up to NPR, listening to regular news...they stop in and said something like they didn't know if this was real or not, but a plane had hit the world trade center...normally i would have headed to the office...but I had to travel to the TV and see what was going on...I was shocked and didn't know what to do...well, go to work.

walked to work with j-lo and as we got PA ave, saw a lot of smoke in the SW direction...walked past the firehouse on 8th SE and they said to get inside, the Pentagon was just hit, and at that point, rumors were flying and they said another plane was flying around DC right now...

Didn't actually see any events happen live on TV-Thank God-but heard it all live on TV...Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings live on the radio saying the towers fell and that the skyline of new york has changed forever...That's what stuck with me more than anything.

Any my mom calling me, sobbing...again, the rumors that were going...more planes headed to Capital Hill, bombs at the state department, it was crazy. Then that night...the desserted streets of DC...

oy, that's enough...how were your pancakes? I made spaghetti that night.

Barbara (Biscuit Girl) said...

I was on the other side of Fairfax County in a class at the Government Center. We had just gotten a break and I went up to the Library Administrations office to say hi to some folks. I walked into my boss's office and asked how he was doing. He replied, "Haven't you heard? The Twin towers were hit by planes." I remember just standing there in shock. I grew up in NY and remember seeing the towers being built.

I went into a small conference room down the call and looked at the television just as they showed the first tower falling. I remember my self thinking this can't be real, this can't be real.

Then we heard about the Pentagon and that another plane was headed to the Capitol. My husband works next to Union Station within eyesight of the Capitol. I tried to call his office and got no answer. My palms started to sweat and I kept telling myself that he's ok. But until I was able to hear from him, I couldn't think straight. After about 30 minutes I called my library and my staff told me that he called there and told them he was ok and that they were evacuated from their building. He was headed to the apartment of a friend to wait things out. When I called him at the apt, I almost cried when I heard his voice. Then I laughed when I realized they had stopped off at a store and picked up beer and were on their way to getting bent.

I remember the eeriest part of that night was not hearing any planes coming in to land at National Airport. The sky was just quiet.

I called all my family, assured them we were ok. I also called a childhood friend who still lives in NY and asked if she and her family were ok. They were.

I was shocked to learn a few weeks later that another childhood friend was killed in the towers. His name was Robert Parro. He was one of the firefighters who died when the towers fell. He was a good kid and turned into a wonderful father and husband. He had a 4 year old son when he died.

The events of 9-11 were devasting enough but when I learned of his death, it took on whole new level of hurt and sadness. I can hardly look at the pictures of the towers anymore and not feel my heart ache.

Dancer in DC said...

Once we had a clear idea of what was going on, I actually stayed at work for awhile. My brain couldn't really process what had happened, so I needed to do some mindless data entry to keep my mind off it all. Eventually I headed home where we watched a lot of CNN.

My mom was very lucky to get a call into me soon after the Pentagon attack to find out I was OK. After that I wasn't able to reach her for days.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for what you said about ABC's Path To 9/11 and the photo-op stuff the admin. rolled out on TV Sept. 9-11 for political spin! It's all to save their asses in November! Bushco has destroyed this country!
A friend of mine works at The Pentagon. Luckily his office was far from the side that was hit, but he lost co-workers that day.