Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Open Wound

The wound that won't close, and some of the parasites that infest it, described as only a New Yorker Who Was There can describe it:

Anyone who lived or worked in downtown Manhattan on 9/11 has no need to see the new Oliver Stone movie, powerful as it’s said to be. An anniversary isn’t necessary to remember that day. It comes back easily, in infinite detail. We remember, moment by moment, where we were, where our friends were, what we saw and heard and said as we came to awareness about what was happening: That gaping reddish hole in the North Tower (“How do you fix that thing?” was a first question) and the glitter in the air (it was paper—all those file cabinets—people later figured out) around the tower and the plumes of smoke, blowing toward Brooklyn past the Woolworth Building. Live turtles, for sale in a box on Canal Street as the towers burned. A shirtless kid on a bicycle, yelling, “It’s anarchy.” Near the towers, the scene was infinitely darker. “Don’t look, Daddy, they’re jumping,” as one 9-year-old told his father near P.S. 234. The row upon row of ambulances, waiting. And the billowing dust everywhere. The hours afterward were surreal, as people negotiated their fears, or tried to continue their ordinary lives (the man taking his daily jog—a little smoky today). The city seemed completely reinvented; everywhere you looked was something new. The event’s vividness and epic scale gave it its power. It’s alive in the mind, engulfing in its imagery. People knew instantly it was going to be memorable; at Washington Square Park, just past nine, a vendor had brought out a tray of disposable cameras.

My wife, who lived in Manhattan at the time, is like that. She has zero desire to see any of the movies.

And watch for the gangrene. I agree with the larger thoughts in this, even if I take issue with the wordings and quibble with the tangential arguments:

The memory of 9/11 continues to stoke a weepy sense of American victimhood, and victimhood, as used by both left and right, is a powerful political force. As the dog whisperer can tell you, strength and woundedness together are a dangerous combination.