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jackasses of the world, unite

jackasses of the world, unite

You knew I couldn't stay away from the subject for too long.

Reid has written a thoughtful, poignant post about the people who want us to "get a grip" or get over the events of September 11. I can only reiterate everything both he and I and James Lileks and a host of others have said. How dare people feel they have the right to tell us to stop mourning, to stop feeling, that there are other, more important world tragedies for us to be thinking of.

It's not just because I live in New York that I feel proprietary over September 11. It is because I am human. I have emotions. I feel deeply over everything. Multiply death by 3,000 and that's a lot of emotion and despair. One year does not wipe that out.

I don't even live in New York City. I can't begin to imagine what it was like to be right there, to actually see the towers crumbling, to watch victims fall from windows to their death, to be enveloped by the smoke and dust from the falling buildings.

I watched the smoke rise from my rear view mirror as I fled work that day. I watched fire trucks zoom past me as they made their way into the city. I waited for phone calls from my firemen cousins. I watched my father as he left to go into the city to help his colleagues. I watched as my father lost friend after friend. I attended too many funerals, too many memorial services. Even one was too many. I watched my children become bewildered and frightened.

Reid takes apart this piece in the New L.A. Times by Jill Stewart, an article which takes the opportunity, three days before the anniversary, to rip apart the victims' families, the Americans who are mourning, and the police and fire departments.

"Indeed, I say without shame to America's ever-growing, increasingly troubling and loudly throbbing Cult of Nine Eleven, "For God sakes, get a grip!" "
She is just another in a long line of idiots who are spewing nonsense that because Americans are so hung up on the 3,000 victims of September 11, that must mean that we don't care about quake or flood victims in other countries. I have refuted that nonsense before, I won't take the time to do it again.
"So, on September 11, I suggest that you not light a candle for the victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Plenty of others will do so for you.

Instead, say a prayer for the 20,000 obliterated in India, or the 1,100 trampled in Nigeria, or the untold dead child soldiers. Do not buy a "Let's Roll!" T-shirt, but do send a dollar to an Afghan group helping illiterate girls and boys learn to read normal childhood books. Play a small part in helping our self-indulgent nation to become a better citizen of the world. You'll feel oh so much better."

To Miss Stewart:

Pardon me, you misguided jackass. The reason we are lighting candles or whatever we are doing to remember the victims on Wednesday is because it is the one year anniversary of the attacks. I am going to be incredibly self-indulgent that day and light one hundred candles just to spite you. You know what would make me feel better? To spit in your face if I ever see you.

How dare you tell anyone to get over it? How dare you take it upon yourself to determine how or when or whom I should mourn for? And how dare you, and all the others, try to make me feel selfish and isolationist when I am grieving?

If you think the politics and views of this country suck so much, and if you think that the starving people in Africa or the victims of national disasters in other countries deserve our help, then why don't you pack your bags and go over there and help them out? Why don't you go over to Afghanistan and teach those little girls how to read? Put your money and your actions where your big fat mouth is.

I am not saying that those people do not deserve our attention, our aid or our sympathy. But this is apples and oranges, dear. September 11 to me will always be a day to recognize the victims at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and of Flight 93. If you don't want to take part in that, then just shut your mouth and be on your way. But don't you dare have the gall to tell me I am not supposed to be feeling grief.

Comments

I hope she also wrote a letter addressing the people of Nigeria and India and Afghanistan, telling them to stop feeling sorry for themselves. I hope she told them that instead of praying and mourning for their dead, they should be thinking about the 3,000+ people in the US that lost their lives. After all, that's what she's telling us.

I see what the "get over it" crowd is saying to a (small) extent.

For some, I think that there is a fear that because of the way we tend to circus-ize everything, this will become another "Cult of Elvis" or an excuse to do any evil thing "to get even with terrorists". For others it's just another excuse to make a name for themselves--to join the circus, as it were.

But no one has the right to tell you not to mourn. And you are absolutely correct: the first question anyone should ask of anyone who criticizes something as being "wrong" is "What are you doing to make it right?"

So, if you think we are not focusing our time and energies in the right places, what are you doing about it? Are you giving to AIDS research? Are you teaching Afghani children to read (or seeing that someone does)?

Until you look at your own self, don't be lookin' at me, bub.

I see what the "get over it" crowd is saying to a (small) extent.

For some, I think that there is a fear that because of the way we tend to circus-ize everything, this will become another "Cult of Elvis" or an excuse to do any evil thing "to get even with terrorists". For others it's just another excuse to make a name for themselves--to join the circus, as it were.

But no one has the right to tell you not to mourn. And you are absolutely correct: the first question anyone should ask of anyone who criticizes something as being "wrong" is "What are you doing to make it right?"

So, if you think we are not focusing our time and energies in the right places, what are you doing about it? Are you giving to AIDS research? Are you teaching Afghani children to read (or seeing that someone does)?

Until you look at your own self, don't be lookin' at me, bub.

Dang, I wondered why people kept getting two posts...it smacked me this morning, too. Sorry about that.

I agree with you 100%, Michele. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that woman's really pissed me off.

I'm with you, Michele. While I do think we should be addressing issues elsewhere in the world as well, Sept. 11th holds special meaning for many of us. I was in Times Square that day (I work there) and saw much of what happened first-hand.

That brings a personal sense of immediacy to me, as well as many others. Screw the bitch who wrote that article.

I agree with Solonor. While no one has a right to tell you to stop grieving for your personal loss, I am highly critical of media that keep beating the 9-11 drum, particularly in relation to completely unrelated subjects, in an effort to use that fear and raw emotion to grab ratings.

I am tired of man-on-the-street interviews where people are asked if their bowel-movement schedule has changed since September 11th, or if they're buying a different brand of shaving foam because of the terrorist attacks.

If the media is going to serve its true purpose, it should be focussing on the meat of the issue including those affected overseas, but shouldn't be afraid to look elsewhere for news. September 11th was horrible, but it was only one tragedy among many last year.

i wonder if the people who want everyone to get over it have dealt with it at all themselves. not making excuses for their behavior, but there are people who stay in denial indefinitely.

I'm too upset, too angry, to make a coherent comment except to say 'thank you, Michele' for having the right words to respond to idiots like Jill Stewart and those cold-hearted bastards in her camp. It matter not their reasons, where is their compassion? And if they ever had any, why are there time limits on it? Again, I just don't get it.

What baffles me about people like Jill Stewart, is that they seem to have the idea that one can only mourn one tragedy at a time, or that one can only concern oneself with one issue. That it's either/or. That if I observe September 11, that I somehow have too small a heart to also concern myself with AIDS in Africa, or volcano victims in Latin America. I know this isn't true about me, and I've found it to be an outright fallacy about others of my acquaintance as well. Yes, my heart goes out to the families of the victims of September 11th. Absolutely, wholeheartedly. This has never stopped me from being concerned about other tragedies farther away, or, indeed, contributing to solutions to those problems. And I suspect this is true of the vast majority of people I know. I think most of us have hearts big enough to empathize in more than one direction at once.

A-frickin'-MEN, JEN!!

I agree with Solonor, et.al.

Mourning and grief take time, and no one should tell the grievers how long that should be. By the same token, those of us who are not grieving should not be asked to have the whole world grind to a halt for those who are. I would never tell anyone to "get over it" -- I know from my own experience that grief is complex and takes time, but I would ask the media, the politicians, and the companies profiteering from 9/11 to stop taking advantage of your grief and let the world continue as it will.