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Monday, January 23, 2006



And now, of course, the real life disaster movie has been turned into a real disaster movie:

Is that post-modern, or post-ironic, or something else?

Samuel Fromartz

Clive, I was in Washington during 9-11, an eerie quiet day, only broken by the sound of fighter jets. But curiously, I also had a desire to both suck in information and escape it, especially the incessant reruns of the towers falling, all spectacle and no context. The pictures became a kind of emotional marker for what was happening, experienced again and again. I didn't crave football, but didn't crave the constant closed loop of the experience either.... Maybe this is where art comes in, to help us process what the news can only show, not make sense of.

By the way Clive, this is Sam, from NYC jazz days circa 1990s. Just found your blog by happenstance by way of another one, Sam

Steve Skubinna

I recall reading in Admiral Dan Gallery's memoirs, that when he was Assistant Naval Attache in London his Royal Navy hosts were sincerely sympathetic about the US losses at Pearl Harbor, but also somewhat smug because after all, the US was caught unprepared and such a debacle would never have happened to the RN. A few weeks later, he wrote, that all changed when HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales were caught without air cover and sunk off Malaya.

I suppose for many outside the US, 9/11 seemed horrific but distant, and perhaps the sort of thing you'd expect to happen to Americans. I don't find that attitude inexplicable, but what infuriated me were those Americans who immediately, as bodies were still being pulled from the debris, loudly and stupidly were claiming the attacks were our own fault and that they would never have happened if Bush hadn't... done whatever their own silly pet peeve was.

So don't be apologetic for your temporary withdrawal from the shock. Some of my own countrymen were secretly gleeful (some not secretly at all) that it had happened because it "proved" that they were right and the rest of us were stupid barbarians. And then there were those Americans who went so far as to state that the victims deserved to die because of where they were working or what their jobs had been. Of course, one prominent specimen bewailed the deaths as having occurred in Blue States and therefore undeserving since they hadn't voted for Bush.


I had a totally different experience of this, due to the industry I was in. I had just qualified as a commercial pilot and was in the commercial flight training industry. The shock was huge and very real, all encompassing. It was not just the immediate reduction in our prospects, but the brutal loss of innocence. The industry is, for the most part, so incredibly tolerant, open and cosmopolitan. This was so alien to us, yet we had been used for this terrible purpose. It also robbed us of a large part of the fun anticipated in flying a jet airliner; I now fly a light aircraft for charter, adn much prefer this as you meet customers the big boys are no longer allowed to mix with. It also ended up destroying my very important relationship, a fact I could foresee at the time; with jobs hard to come by I assume I was not alone in this.

The impact was huge and, psychologically, immediate to most of the people I knew.

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