Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reading Assignment

This is a pretty close approximation of my thoughts each year on 9/11...
Have you finished composing your "where I was" blog post or, god save us, your #whereiwas Tweet? Have you muted MSNBC's deplorable annual encore performance of the televised deaths of thousands? Have you remembered to never forget? Good. Fine.

Shortly after (or maybe during) that day, our president at the time, a little fuckhead no one liked, handed over the reins to the most psychotic elements of his administration. In the vast national wave of jingoism, paranoia, dread, and fear that followed, he and his friends led us into an unrelated war they'd been planning beforehand, allowed the CIA to wiretap and torture anyone they liked (and encouraged the CIA to wiretap and torture even more than they were comfortable with!), and regularly insisted that our memory of that day should not be sullied with critical thinking or expressions of anything other than still-palpable fear. This played better in the sorts of places that had nothing to fear from international terrorism, but plenty of formerly reasonable-acting people in the major targets did play along, both out of personal conviction and partisan duty.

In fact an entire cottage industry of dudes who were Changed Forever On That Day thrived on the internet. Bloggers, all of whom were self-professed Former Liberal Democrats, were suddenly freed to be racist, bloodthirsty warmongers. They were rewarded with traffic and mainstream legitimacy (even as they ritually attacked the MSM as terrorist-loving fifth columnists). Most are still treated as Serious People, even though their defining characteristic was a hysterical response to a crisis.

Yeah, pretty much. The damage done to the country from 9/11 was mostly self-inflicted. [h/t Anne at Balloon Juice]

UPDATE: Great comment thread in that BJ post.

10 comments:

Bob said...

I couldn't come up with an appropriate "where I was" post at ATK, so I didn't do anything. I thought that was better.

One thing I disagree with was that Bush was unpopular at that time. He was reasonable popular going into 9-11 and the country would have walked through fire for him after 9-11. That’s the problem. His lack of character did not bring our country up, it tore us down.

Mr Furious said...

It's true, he was relatively popular still among the general public with his "reg'lar guy" schtik. It's easy for me (and likely that writer) to forget most people weren't closely following stuff like Ashcroft's appointment, etc. I was coming back from our honeymoon during which I had read a stack of The Economists in the lobby of our hotel (Bermuda, with a decidedly British clientele) and I was well-versed in Bush's already-horrible international rep.

steves said...

I considered doing a where I was post, but couldn't come up with anything that would have been all that interesting. I didn't watch MSNBC, but did see a few shows on the History Channel that I thought were interesting and well done.

steves said...

I read through the comments on BJ and would have to say that the vitriol was so frequent that I couldn't even finish the thread. The signal to noise ratio was pretty bad. For every rational comment, there were dozens of "Glenn Beckish" tirades. Ironic.

Mr Furious said...

True enough, steves, after further review. I was in and out quickly earlier.

But the comments in there I agreed with still stand.

steves said...

Yes, there were some I agreed with, too. Unfortunately, it seems like any blog with a large readership tends to attract some of these people.

Mr Furious said...

That's awesome.

Bob said...

Maybe we avoid being dickwads at ATK becuase:

A) We have 4 readers.
B) They know who we are in the real world.

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