Yesterday, the Brothers Judd blog linked to a funny shaggy dog story by Dick Cavett in the New York Times that ran on Friday, about his first working with Mel Brooks on a series of Ballantine Beer commercials in the mid-’60s. You can’t fault Cavett, at 74 years of age, for feeling nostalgic about the glory days of his career and its rapid arc from working as just another young joke writer behind the scenes of Jack Parr’s Tonight Show at NBC in the early-1960s, and ending the decade hosting his own late night show on ABC, a hip alternative to Johnny Carson, Parr’s successor.
But get a load of its set-up:
Have you, perchance, decided — as I have — not to spend the weekend re-wallowing in 9/11 with the media? Aside from allowing Saint Rudolph, former tenant of Gracie Mansion, to trumpet once again his self-inflated heroism on that nightmare day, the worst feature of this relentlessly repeated carnival of bitter sights and memories is that it glamorizes the terrorists.
How they must enjoy tuning into our festival of their spectacular accomplishments, cheering when the second plane hits and high-fiving when the falling towers are given full-color international showcasing for the tenth time.
Who wants this? Surveys show people want to forget it, or at least not have it thrust down their throats from all over the dial annually. It can’t have to do with that nauseating buzz-word “closure.” There is no closure to great tragedies. Ask the woman on a call-in show who said how she resents all this ballyhooing every year of the worst day of her life: “My mother died there that day. I’m forced to go through her funeral again every year.”
Is all this stuff a ratings bonanza? Who in the media could be that heartless?
Let’s turn from tragedy to a somewhat lighter subject — say, comedy.
In other words, if we don’t consign the events of a decade ago to the memory hole, then the terrorists will have won. Imagine if the motto of World War II was that only by forgetting what actually happened can we say “Never Forget.”
Which dovetails well with with Mark Steyn’s latest weekly op-ed, in which he writes, “We retreat to equivocation, cultural self-loathing, and utterly fraudulent misrepresentation of 9/11:”
What’s that — a quilting technique?
No, what’s missing from these commemorations is more Muslims. The other day I bumped into an old BBC pal who’s flying in for the anniversary to file a dispatch on why you see fewer women on the streets of New York wearing niqabs and burqas than you do on the streets of London. She thought this was a telling indictment of the post-9/11 climate of “Islamophobia.” I pointed out that, due to basic differences in immigration sources, there are far fewer Muslims in New York than in London. It would be like me flying into Stratford-on-Avon and reporting on the lack of Hispanics. But the suits had already approved the trip, so she was in no mood to call it off.
How are America’s allies remembering the real victims of 9/11? “Muslim Canucks Deal with Stereotypes Ten Years After 9/11,” reports CTV in Canada. And it’s a short step from stereotyping to criminalizing. “How the Fear of Being Criminalized Has Forced Muslims into Silence,” reports the Guardian in Britain. In Australia, a Muslim terrorism suspect was so fearful of being criminalized and stereotyped in the post-9/11 epidemic of paranoia that he pulled a Browning pistol out of his pants and hit Sgt. Adam Wolsey of the Sydney constabulary. Fortunately, Judge Leonie Flannery acquitted him of shooting with intent to harm on the grounds that “‘anti-Muslim sentiment’ made him fear for his safety,” as Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported on Friday. That’s such a heartwarming story for this 9/11 anniversary they should add an extra panel to the peace quilt, perhaps showing a terror suspect opening fire on a judge as she’s pronouncing him not guilty and then shrugging off the light shoulder wound as a useful exercise in healing and unity.
What of the 23rd Psalm? It was recited by Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer and the telephone operator Lisa Jefferson in the final moments of his life before he cried, “Let’s roll!” and rushed the hijackers.
No, sorry. Aside from firemen, Mayor Bloomberg’s official commemoration hasn’t got any room for clergy, either, what with all the Executive Deputy Assistant Directors of Healing and Outreach who’ll be there. One reason why there’s so little room at Ground Zero is because it’s still a building site. As I write in my new book, 9/11 was something America’s enemies did to us; the ten-year hole is something we did to ourselves — and in its way, the interminable bureaucratic sloth is surely as eloquent as anything Nanny Bloomberg will say in his remarks.
In Shanksville, Pa., the zoning and permitting processes are presumably less arthritic than in Lower Manhattan, but the Flight 93 memorial has still not been completed. There were objections to the proposed “Crescent of Embrace” on the grounds that it looked like an Islamic crescent pointing towards Mecca. The defense of its designers was that, au contraire, it’s just the usual touchy-feely huggy-weepy pansy-wimpy multiculti effete healing diversity mush. It doesn’t really matter which of these interpretations is correct, since neither of them has anything to do with what the passengers of Flight 93 actually did a decade ago. 9/11 was both Pearl Harbor and the Doolittle Raid rolled into one, and the fourth flight was the only good news of the day, when citizen volunteers formed themselves into an ad hoc militia and denied Osama bin Laden what might have been his most spectacular victory. A few brave individuals figured out what was going on and pushed back within half an hour. But we can’t memorialize their sacrifice within a decade. And when the architect gets the memorial brief, he naturally assumes that there’s been a typing error and that “Let’s roll!” should really be “Let’s roll over!”
And speaking of “Let’s Roll,” John Hinderaker of Power Line asks:
Is being gay what it takes to be acknowledged as a hero by today’s media? Perhaps so. Can you think of another explanation for the paucity of stories this week featuring the many heroes who emerged on September 11, and in its aftermath? Including, among others, Bingham’s brothers in arms on Flight 93? Well, they were unarmed, but you get the point.
I personally couldn’t care less about Mark Bingham’s sex life. When it counted, he was not just a man but a hero, and he gave his life for his country. But have we really reached the point in our liberal media culture when a man can only be hailed for his indisputably heroic actions if he also happened to be gay? Someone please assure me that my suspicion is wrong by linking to the many other stories that must have been written about the other heroes of September 11 and its aftermath.
As John Podhoretz, it’s all a part of the left’s efforts to convert “9/11 from an act of wanton destruction and murder to a moment requiring an examination of our own sins.”
At least for those who ignore one breezy but nihilistic would-be Timesman and wannabe political pundit’s advice, and bother to care enough to be circumspect about the
incident, tragedy, man-caused disaster, ruthless terrorist attack.