Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sullivan's Travels

Am I the only one that thinks that Andrew Sullivan's fantasy blogging from a non 9/11 world this week on New York Magazine is a pointless, inane, mental masturbation? I kept getting more and more infuriated the more I read it.
I don't think it is pointless to ask what if, and what the other contributors have to say is mildly interesting, but isn't it more to the point to ask, not if 9/11 had not happened but rather WHAT IF this country had acted intelligently before, during and after what happened? What if we had not gone to war with the wrong nation for the wrong reasons? What if the idiots from the CIA and the FBI had read the freaking memo and talked to one another? What if G.W had not stolen the election in Florida or the Supreme Court given him carte blanche to usurp a presidency that did not belong to him? What if Al Gore had put on a fight, instead of just putting on weight and a beard?
I find it idiotic to envision there not being an attack, because that is not a learning lesson, that is just a fantasy. What we sorely need are learning lessons, and we need to apply them fast.
In a nutshell, in his fertile imagination Sullivan envisions an attack with cyanide gas in five world capitals: London, Tel Aviv (since there are no subways in the Holy Land, he proposes rockets with chemical warheads), New York, Moscow and D.C., while Al Gore is president. He puts the death toll at over 10 thousand people. He goes on an on about how the attack is planned, and all the methods that are used in almost pornographic detail. Having fun yet, Andy? Why don't you just write a manual?
Number one: people in the West should stop brainstorming in behalf of the "islamofascist" motherfuckers, because one day they are going to take you up on it. Also, it confirms in their minds the mass hysteria they are able to cause, which is exactly what they want. Bernard Lewis and Sullivan, you are grounded.
Number two: it disgraces you to elevate these assholes to that level of efficiency. To fantasize about more and more reckless terrorist murders somehow aggrandizes these beasts, and that pisses me off.
Of course people who are hard at work in the prevention of terror need to be as imaginative as possible about every conceivable scenario, but to read a fantastic account of what did not happen makes me queasy. It's a waste of time.
Since there is no 9/11, Sullivan envisions Rumsfeld and Bush almost completely defanged, since they are not in power, and the little time they spend in power before Gore wins the election they are obsessed with China. Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney, who is completely neutralized and out of the picture in this scenario, are who they are precisely because of the lethal combination of who they already were with what happened. So again, what is the point?
You know, in Mexico there is a saying: "if my grandmother had wheels, she would have been a bicycle"

In fact, almost the entire issue of the magazine is devoted to 9/11 and it seems to me that its mix of bad taste and interesting stuff is symbolic of how fragmented and schizoid our dealing with it is.
I agree with John Homans' article on the shameless culture of grief it has spawned in this country, where everybody and their brother now can stake claim to some form of victimhood or another.
There is mawkish, manipulative, entitled grief and there is dignified grief, and I much prefer the latter.

I was shocked at the photographs of personal belongings recovered from the site. I am certainly not one of those people who after five years are still saying it's too soon for Oliver Stone to make a movie about that day. Instead, I wish we would all just shut up about it already, especially our disgraceful president. If he has abused this event to the best of his ability every single waking moment of his life since (putting us all in further danger, by the way), and if there were enterprising people selling souvenir postcards and t-shirts already on 9/12, Oliver Stone has the right to do whatever the hell he pleases, give me a break. But why am I looking at the wallet and mangled id card of a dead person? Or at a charred fireman's helmet? I find this is morbid and in terrible taste.

They got a number of survivors in a room to talk about their life that day and since. It is compelling and truthful and sheds light on the very complex issue of surviving a terrible ordeal while others don't. Everything is not rosy afterwards, people are alienated from their families, aloof and impatient, traumatized still, and most astoundingly, when asked if they are bitter against Saudis or Iranians etc, they all said no. No? NO? Wow.
I learned a lot more in that article that in the nonsense all those self-important pundits were dreaming of.

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