“With the right revolting piety of tone”
The self-rightousness and intolerance shown by the pentagon warning i just mentioned reminded me of something i have been meaning to put in writing for a long time now. This self-rightousness and intolerance is the same that started (or really gained) 6 years ago, much diluted.
This is not about September 11th the event. There is plenty to say about that. As bad as my memory typically is, i nearly have the whole day memorized, but you understand that. I’ve met no one who doesn’t remember that in one way or another, and the similarity and cohesion of feelings is remarkable.
But. I am thinking of what followed; the sick feeling that had no relation to the sick feeling from the event itself. The attacks themselves never scared me; i’m too far from the northeast and too pragmatic to be genuinely afraid of being hijacked or suicide bombed (i have more reason to fear being carjacked or raped, but even those are not imminent enough to be worth the constant trouble of being afraid).
The scary part for me was more long-term. It was as though there was this brief beautiful burst of solidarity and compassion and mourning, which crashed into some kind of disgusting, contorted demi-solidarity. I suppose it was like the president’s “you’re either with us or your with the terrorists” comment. (Of course, what that statement really meant was “you either agree with everything we say or you’re with the terrorists.”) But it was so much more personal than that; it wasn’t the president’s comment that scared me. It was everyone thinking that way. It was genuine fear of expressing any opinions. And it was so strange. Because it wasn’t saying “i think we deserved it” or “President Bush is a lying idiot” that brought people’s wrath down on you, it was even “i think we need more information,” “I don’t like the idea of war, but…” or any reluctance to agree with the ‘party line’. It was fucking sickening.
“Why I’m Lonely” – Harvey Danger