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helpless

helpless

My cousin Stan came over tonight. Stan is a fireman who lost 19 of his co-workers on September 11th. That's 19 just in his specific house.

Tonight Stan came over with a tape. Apparently, next month CBS is showing a video that two French cameramen made on September 11th. They were filming a documentary and just happened to get caught up in the attack on the World Trade Center. What I saw tonight was over two unedited hours of those tapes. I cannot for the life of me fathom why CBS would choose to show this on tv. No amount of editing or soothing over will make it bearable for anyone to see. The only reason a station would show these tapes is for either manipulation of our emotions or plain old ratings. Either way its abhorable. I'm sure they will throw in interviews and heartwearming stories and it will jerk your tears around.

A lot of the tape was shot inside the WTC, right after the first plane hit. It was eerie and unsettling to watch the firemen, milling about, waiting for direction, totally unaware of what fate awaited them. We were staring at faces we knew. My father's friends. My cousin's co-workers. People you would recognize from their stories being told over and over again in the aftermath of the day. You look in their eyes and you are staring into the eyes of a dead man. It was like watching a horror movie, where you want to scream to the actor to get out of the room. I wanted to shout at the men I saw on the tv. Warn them, tell them not to go back up, not to go into Tower 2.

Most of the tape was madness. Smoke. PASS alarms. Shouting. Firemen running up while people were running down. Darkness. Chaos. And the thuds. We kept hearing thuds, thinking it was pieces of the building falling down and my cousin told us no, most of those thuds were the sound of bodies hitting the marquee outside.

So what is the purpose in CBS showing this tape. Even if it is edited to the point of being almost unrecongnizable to me, I still see no point in it. It will only serve to cause distress and despair. They claim it's to show heroism, but I think we all know all about the heroism displayed that day, by everyone who was there, not just firemen. I don't think we need to have the point hammered home to us by displaying the last moments of the lives of so many people in such a raw way. We do not need our emotions manipulated any more than they have been. We do not need to have death and destruction shoved in our face again so we can keep up our patriotic spirit.

I don't know why I watched the whole thing. Maybe because I didn't want to leave my father's side as he looked in the faces of people he spent so much time with, people who are no longer here. Maybe I watched because this was the only time it seemed real to me, that it wasn't being played out with voice overs and graphics. And I think that's what made it so painful. It wasn't just the nightly news anymore. It was finally, ultimately real to me. Seeing that raw footage made the pain and the heartache that had been floating around in my mind since September finally sit down and take hold.

Who needs that? Who needs to have their pain and tears commercialized and put on display? I wish I didn't see it. I'm hoping you decide not to.

Comments

I can't believe they would show that either. I remember when my husband brought home all the news magazines that had covers about that day. I think it was just a few days after it happened. One of them had a picture and if you looked close enough, you could see people leaning out of windows and falling. It was at that moment that I really and truly cried like my heart was going to break. How could they show this? What about the family and friends who lost loved ones? What happens when they see photos of this and realize that their loved ones could have been that terrified that they might have jumped to their deaths. It made me ill and it's still an image that floats into my mind. I'll never understand why they needed that particular picture in their magazine. To sell more? To have the best "scoop?" It's just sickening and made me not want to buy that particular magazine again. I'm so sorry about the loss of your Cousin's and Father's friends and co-workers.

I saw that magazine... I think it was Time. It made me so angry and sad at the same time. If CBS airs that, I definitely won't be around to watch. I just can't.

Our local paper, the St. Petersburg Times, did a full-page photo (double-fold) of people jumping from the towers -- you could see several mid-air. Todd told me not to look, but as he said that, I already had. I have never felt that feeling in my entire 29 years, and I hope I never have to again. For the love of God, if they're going to do the unthinkable and air this, at least have the dignity to not break it into chunks with "sponsored by..." in between. That's the part of being an American that turns my stomach -- and I consider myself patriotic to the core.

It is unfortunate but CBS is a business and their sole purpose is to make money. This is how they make money.

I heard that it was going to be shown. I thought about it at the time I saw the commercial, but the thoughts passed. This brings them back up. Why now? Why months down the road? What purpose does it serve? To drum up some patriotic fever? What? To make us wave flags high and support Duhhhbya? To tear at our hearts once more? Why?

After reading this ... I won't watch it. Sad. Very sad.

If its as horrible as u say then i wont watch it if it ever gets here but i bet alot of curious people WIll watch it.Watching it will make it more real to them and unfortunately it will bring back alot of the hurt to people who lost loved ones.

Ugh. We were just debating this at work. Yeah, I actually REALLY don't need to see that. Reading your post already made me feel a bit ill. Free copies of the tape should go to all the libraries in the U.S. for people to see if/when they feel they need to -- and I can see reasons. History erases too much. But not like this: certainly not as a chance for one more corporation to make some bucks.

I think the library option is a good idea. While I don't WANT to see it, I feel that I need to see it. I don't trust a network like CBS (I groaned when I heard about it), but public television (PBS) often handles difficult subjects well - they more often transmit information than entertainment.

I feel odd that I know that so many bad things happened and yet I've been spared from getting too close to it because mass media won't show it. I don't want my access filtered by mass media. I remember a magazine called Paris Match. When i was a kid I saw a story about a mob hit in the news. In my French class several months later, I picked up Paris Match and it had a few graphic images with bodies and blood. I was floored. It changed the way I thought about the consequences of crime. That's when the original story became real for me. Same thing for the holocaust. I felt sad after reading about it. I saw a graphic documentary on PBS one day, footage of what the Americans saw entering the camps - it changed my life.

I think willing observers should have access - somehow. But to take it mainstream with CBS gives me pause.

I like the library idea too. And while I don't doubt at all that CBS's main motive is money, I can understand why people may want to see it. I think it may be the only way for some - who live far removed from NYC - to make it real. There is some strange value to bearing witness and not turning away from tragedy. But don't think that CBS and Britany Spears' Pepsi commercials are the way to go here.

Hey, maybe Bush will be trying to push some other ultra-conservative crap on us around that time, using this as a distraction...

I'm really torn on this one. I don't know anyone in the footage - but I still think it's something that is going to be difficult for most of us to watch. I'm thinking the library idea is good - or maybe a PBS documentary or something. There's a lot of footage from WW2 that never made it to public screenings - we're only just seeing it now in many documentaries - though I hear WW2 vets find it just as difficult to view now. It is history, CBS may just be doing it to make a buck - or may be seeing it as a civic duty since the footage will prbably be shown in France and overseas - does seem weird that the rest of the world would see it and that Americans might not have a chance to.

Unfortunately, no matter how I feel about it, since I teach mass media stuff I have to see it if they televise it - it'll come up in future media history.

Having gone through the horror and the uncertainty of that day, I really can't bring myself to look at photos, footage, or anything else having to do with it. I can't stand to see tug-on-your-heartstring stories on "Good Morning America" ("Welcome to the 'Coffee and Depression Show' with Charlie and Diane!"); I can't listen to the Live song "Overcome"; I can't even glance at the new books display at Border's without wanting to sit in a corner in anger and sadness and everything else that came with the attacks.

It's been exactly five months. We can't change what happened and I don't need a major network reminding me of it. Fuck, I didn't even need a halftime show to remind me. How are we supposed to move on like that?

OK, in 50 years, maybe. Not now. This is just horrifying.

I know that I learn more about people's situations through documentary footage and maybe this would make some people feel like they "got" it, but SO WHAT? Why do they need to get it a little better through THIS when so many Americans lost someone or 19 someones.

I hope the New York stations have the sense to show M*A*S*H reruns.

why are they showing it now? Propaganda--to support expansion and continuation. Same goes for movies like Collateral Damage, Black Hawk Down, and others with "partiotic" themes. I remember WWII movies and cartoons and how they all had the Good Guys (us) and the Bad Guys (them.) Even stories in women's magazines had government "guidance" so that they legitimized women leaving the nest to get defense jobs--until their Johnny came back home and they could go back to the frilly apron.

i totally agree with sue. watch, in the weeks before it's shown, they'll probably advertise something like:
"if you don't watch this, then the terrorists win!"

I'm sorry, did I miss something? Was there some national law passed requiring everyone to watch this? Is there some strange, hypnotic power being sent across the airwaves to drag folks, kicking and screaming, to the TV screen?

If it's going to make you sick, if it's going to just horrify you, then don't watch it. It doesn't make any difference whether it's in the library or on CBS, just don't watch it.

Or if you think it's just plain wrong to have it broadcast in the first place, contact the network, or, better yet, contact the sponsors.

But if you just don't want to see it ... don't.

Dave, it's not that I think it's plain wrong to show it, I just don't understand why. I don't know the purpose that will be served by showing it. I certainly wouldn't write the networks saying "don't show it!" or boycott them or anything, because it's their right to broadcast what they want and I'm sure there are some people who want to see it, who will have a completely different reaction from me. I was just using my space to give my opinion on the whole thing.

I'm sorry but I dont understand why no one wants to see this. This is a tragedy and It should be remembered forever. You people are trying to forget about it already! It is because of you people that all this happens! Wimps that just want to forget about everything and close their eyes to eveything. If it was up to me, I would show it every day, on every channel, TO everyone. Our community where I live lost a firefighter and a good man in those towers and we want to see the terrorists pay for it. You dont have to watch it if you dont want to. Just dont stop everyone else who does. Why does nobody forget the Holocaust? Nobody says anything about that! That's why it happens again and again. Because people like you always want to forget about it. You dont want to see anything. Close yours eyes if you can't face reality!!!

Why is it always the people who make the most ignorant posts who don't leave any form of contact?

Where did I ever say that I want to forget it or pretend it never happened? Of course I will never forget it. Who could? But I just felt like it was uncessary to relive the whole day over again just six months later.

Please explain to me why things like this happen because of people like me. I would really like you to expand on this theory, because I have no clue what you are going on about.

You think just because I don't want to watch a tv show about it that I don't want the people responsible to pay? How in the world could you draw such a conclusion?

I did face reality. I face it every day. I face it every time I look at my father and see the circles under his eyes that have been there since Septmeber 11th, when he lost so many of his colleagues and friends. Do not talk to me about reality. There are hundreds of people who lived through that day who want no part in reliving it daily.

Come back and talk more about this, Cris. I want to know why people like me are to blame for thiese things happening.

Cris, I am not a wimp. Unlike some, I am huge supporter of the War. And quite honestly, I want everyone responsible dead. Not captured, detained, or imprisoned... DEAD. I still didn't think I wanted to watch the movie. Choosing not to watch it (or expressing why you feel others should abstain) has nothing to do with trying to forget. It's about the pain being still fresh like all this shit happened YESTERDAY. I have a picture on my PC of one of the first firemen to die. I look at his face every day. I didn't need to watch the movie to remind me he died, and why.

I'm really sorry your community lost a good man, but I think you would feel differently about airing such a movie every day, on every channel, TO everyone (only 6 months later) if it was YOUR FATHER, or BROTHER on the screen, moments from his last breath.

It's people like you, who spew words with no logic, who can't face reality. Reality is watching it happen with my own eyes. Many people in the country did not, so maybe they want to watch this movie. That's their choice. But I saw this film unedited, before the general public got to see it. I knew what you all would see, and that it would be really hard to swallow for many. I guess you think Time Magazine's photos of people jumping to their deaths is something EVERYONE should see to 'never forget' what happened.

Another thing... The holocaust? You cite a poor example. Can you perhaps articulate more clearly your point? I don't get it.

Well, I watched it.

I watched it because, like a scab, I needed to pick at it a little further because, well, it feels good. Or rather, it feels appropriate.

It's also because this is, like it or not, part of the national discourse, even if it is mediated "with limited interuptions" by Nextel. This wasn't an editorial in an arcane academic journal; it was prime time. It could be understood and appreciated as group therapy for one very large group.

That all said, I think their take on it, to push the relationship between the brothers who were, after all, focusing on the development of a "plebe" was appropriate.