September 11th 2001 was a dark day in American history. That isn’t disputed. What is debated is how the country reacted afterward. I read a blog entry on a website today that bothered me because the writer seemed to be blurring how events turned out rather than what was known that day.
On the website Crooks and Liars, writer Susie Madrak posted an entry titled “Flashback: The Day The Earth Stood Still”.
It was a very personal account of what happened to her on September 11th 2001. I was interested in reading the essay as it matched my feelings that day until I got to the end when she wrote this:
My grown son was staying with me while he looked for a job and was sleeping on the couch when I came home. I flipped on the TV and it woke him up. We watched as they showed the planes crashing into the building, again and again and again.
“Turn it off,” he said after an hour or so. “This is pornography, war pornography. Turn it off.”
So I did.
When we have our limbic brain punched over and over again by horrific images, and those images are then used to justify more horror, there is only one solution: Turn off your TV.
My son was right: The 9/11 images were war pornography, something watched over and over as we stroked ourselves into wargasm.
Those words bothered me because of the way I spent my day that day. I watched the TV coverage all day and into the evening because it just didn’t seem real and I need to see the live coverage to keep driving it home that it happened.
Yes the attacks were used to justify an unneeded war in Iraq – later. On that day in September is was impossible to know how it would turn out. How could someone claim the TV images were being used to manipulate people.
That would be like saying the newsreels showing the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941 was used to trick us into war.
The war was started by those attacks just as they were in September 2001.
Calling the news images that day “war pornography” is either an after-the-fact colorization of the event or a cold hearted reaction to mass murder.
I hope it is the first and not the former.