Tuesday, September 12, 2006

9/11 Coverage

  • CNN and Fox News, on their websites yesterday, offered streaming video in real time of their original 9/11 coverage. I had it running on my computer in the background all day long, and even fired it up on my home computer after work. Why, after five years, do I find it impossible to turn away from this? Every ten minutes while watching 9/11 stuff, I think to myself "I still can't believe this actually happened."
  • On the more trivial side of the 9/11 coverage, I couldn't help noticing something that permanently changed (in a small way) cable news: At 11:11am, CNN suddenly introduced a running scroll at the bottom of the screen recounting the known facts and developments to that point. The scroll remains there to this day, and was also quickly adopted by Fox News and MSNBC.
  • While looking through the coverage yesterday, I was also introduced to a fetid little swamp I had heard of but not heretofore experienced: the world of the 9/11 conspiracy nuts. The longer I live, the more convinced I become that chronic conspiracy-think is actually a character flaw. These 9/11 people are impregnable to reason and apt to attack anyone and everyone who disagrees with them in the harshest terms. My own personal experiences tend to bear this out with Konspiracy Kooks of all stripes.

    Popular Science magazine has a new book out debunking the most widely-held of the paranoid fever dreams. They've now also launched a blog that contains links to interesting material on all this. The original, comprehensive article that spawned the book can be found here.
  • Sports Illustrated's cover story for it's September 11 issue is on Pat Tillman, the Arizona Cardinals player who quit the NFL to become an Army Ranger in the wake of 9/11 and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan. It's one of the saddest things I've ever read. (Be warned that it contains some salty barracks language.) Though I honor his tremendous sacrifice, my image of him as a heroic patriot has been replaced by an image of a tragic, existential Hemingway character, a lost soul taking ever-increasing risks in the vain search for a meaning he never found. Clearly he was a guy with an admirable internal code of honor and a courage most people (including I) will never know. But in the service of what?

    Writes SI's Gary Smith:
    Braveheart. That's who he wanted to be, said a friend who saw the glow in Pat's eyes as he watched the movie about the Scottish warrior. Trouble was, Pat's wisdom quest was too honest, had carried him clean past that plane where good and evil are fixed and far-flung from one another, to a higher ledge up in the swirling fog where a man could see how right and wrong might rotate and trade places. It just became harder and harder to be Braveheart.

    Until 9/11, when for a moment there was moral clarity, a clarion call to arms, a chance to be that man. Sitting atop that bunker, 11 days into the invasion of a country that had hatched none of the 9/11 terrorists, it was dawning on Pat with each blast-wave lighting up the desert: That moment already was gone. Dawning on him that he'd flung himself into thin air on faith, in search of his highest self, toward a hollow tree that might not hold his weight.
    Later, though Tillman apparently no longer believed in the war, he declined an opportunity to be discharged after a tour in Iraq and go back to football--because he hadn't yet "tasted enemy fire." His story is a tragedy in the fullest sense of the word.
  • I watched "The Path to 9/11" on ABC Sunday and Monday night. The whole family was riveted to it. I had no idea it would be as compelling and well done as it was. In five hours, I didn't detect an ounce of fat on it. By the second night, though, I was starting to wonder if Richard Clarke had written it himself. While casting aspersions on both the Clinton and the Bush administrations, the film fawned on Clark to the point where I was expecting him to pull open his shirt revealing the red and yellow "S," fly out the window, and stop the hijacked planes himself. Does anyone really believe Clark was this perceptive, authoritative, or heroic? Me neither. Nonetheless, still an outstanding piece of television. If you missed it, you should see it on DVD or online.
  • If, like many who saw the movie, you're interested in knowing more about John O'Neill, the FBI's former top Al Qaeda expert who was run out of the FBI, only to ironically die as the World Trade Center's head of security on 9/11, check out Frontline's excellent documentary, "The Man Who Knew." It's an important piece of work.

Related Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments: