Sunday, September 11, 2011

Scene: 9/11 on NPR

If you live in the States, you've probably been inundated with ten-year retrospectives of the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon this week. I know I have, despite my determination to avoid that kind of thing.

Solemn remembrance is one thing. A cousin of mine lived very close to the WTC at the time; she wasn't hurt, luckily, but I remember how I felt before the word got out to her extended family that she was okay, and I sympathize deeply with those whose loved ones weren't so lucky.

Our country's actions afterward... well, political rants seem a little gauche on the occasion, but suffice it to say I'm not a big believer in revenge killing.

What really bugs me, on the ten-year anniversary, is all the bereavement porn that the mainstream media throws in our faces. Children of 9/11: Look at the adorable nine-year-olds who had not yet been born when their fathers died! What does that news story do for us? What does that do for them? The exploitation bothers me far more with children, granted, but how can anyone build a normal life with the media trying to mine their personal loss for the vicarious entertainment of millions?

My car's CD player was screwing up more than usual on Friday, and so, as I do when it bugs me, I switched it off and turned on NPR. They were interviewing people who had lost their twins in the WTC collapse.

The first woman they interviewed described her twin brother, did the trying-to-do-things-he'd-be-proud-of bit, tugged at your heartstrings plenty.

But, said the interviewer, what about the twin thing? How does that feel?

That's when I put the CD back in. Someone in the newsroom was really reaching.

I'm down with helping the people who were affected -- maybe we could actually take care of the health of the first responders, instead of compensating them only for conditions that they can prove are directly connected to that single day (but then I'm one of those crazy people who think that health care is something a functioning modern government ought to oversee for its people) -- I'm down with remembering and mourning the dead, both in the initial attack and in its dragged-out aftermath. I just don't want my TV, radio and print news to drag out every last iota of private grief and misery from the sufferers so that we can really feel it.

It's just not any of our damn business.

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