Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Council Winners

[posted by Callimachus]

Watchers Council winners have been posted for the week of Sept. 13. It was the week that saw the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, so naturally posts on that topic dominated the voting, taking the first spots and one of the tied-for-seconds.

The winner was 2001 -- Our Own Odyssey Began On 9/11 by ‘Okie’ on the Lam, which notes the grim coincidence of that barbaric attack and the hopeful date of Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction novel about man's future in space. Also getting votes was The Way We Were at Right Wing Nut House, a rumination on mementos of the days before Sept. 11, 2001.

Both posts, in their different ways, address the same theme. Six years have turned since the event. "Forever changed" was one of the first mantras to emerge from the smoke and ruin, but it's been long enough now to feel the gathering distance between where we are going and where we thought we were going before it hit. And to mourn that, and remember a little sadly who we thought we were going to be in this century. Or that this century was somehow going to be different than the 20th, or than the 13th.

As a history writer, I've had to be alert to that; had to get back into the minds of people in some long-dry year and seen the world as they saw it, including what they thought they were making out of it. Usually some year before some catastrophe makes a wrenching shift in the life-course of a nation.

After the initial hellish newsroom shift on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, most of my colleagues took home copies of the paper we had made, as it came damp off the press, with the front page consisting, like everyone else's, of the one big picture and the one big word. I didn't. I'd built more pages of that paper than anyone, and I'd seen enough. I reached into the recycling bin and pulled out a copy of the paper we had made the night before, with a slow sunny day's stories spread over the page and a not-too-big picture of a local high school marching band. Somewhere I still have it. I'm waiting for a front page to look like that again. I believe now it never will, while I'm alive.

Also getting votes were 50 Million Intellectuals Can Be Wrong by Bookworm Room, Osama's Real Message by Joshuapundit, who has the good sense to read the transcript rather than the snippets offered up by the media; and Voter Racism Must Be Condemned! by Rhymes With Right, a piece that artfully plays with one of my favorite tactics: Invert the terms of a statement someone supports in the name of fairness and see how it looks to him.

Outside the council, the winner was When the Left Cares, and When It Doesn't by Denis Keohane at American Thinker, about the anti-Iraq War Brian DePalma film I slammed here.

Also getting votes were Iran Plan for Iraq at Counterterrorism Blog; The Self-Righteous (Religious) Zeal of the "Outers" by Gay Patriot; and Apples and Oranges by Logosphilia, an excellent and valuable analysis of some recent statistics.

Also, I overlooked winners for the week of Sept. 7.

First place in the council went to Contemptible from right here. Seems I most often win when I get shirty.

Votes also went to The War To Remember 9/11 at Right Wing Nut House; Civilian Deaths in Iraq Are Up, But They're Really Down by Big Lizards; One Year by Soccer Dad; Why I Support Israel by
Bookworm Room; and Thoughts On Mother Teresa and Religion Bashing By the MSM by ‘Okie’ on the Lam.

Outside the council, the winner was Anatomy of a Tribal Revolt by Small Wars Journal; The State Which Must Not Be Named at Thoughts By Seawitch (hint: Which U.S. state took a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina in 2005?); Iraq Big and Small by Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt's blog; and The Big Picture(s) at Protein Wisdom, an extensive overview of the establishment media coverage of the conflict in Iraq.