The Less Things Change

Yesterday I argued that 9/11 didn't change the world, it just revealed (to a depressingly small number of people apparently) more clearly the world we already lived in. Displays of our continuing collective amnesia were on display again this morning, as Matt Lauer described 9/11 as the "day that ended our innocence"--as if all the terrorist killings of innocent Americans before that were somehow meaningless preseason football games that didn't count. This follows Andy Rooney's asinine remark last night on 60 Minutes that we should just stop behaving in ways that make people want to kill us. Yep, that's the problem, we stupid Americans just keep clinging to our freedom rather than accepting our rightful place under Islamic law. Good insight there Andy.

Now (as always) comes the incomparable Lileks to put the words better than anyone:

If 9/11 had really changed us, there’d be a 150-story building on the site of the World Trade Center today. It would have a classical memorial in the plaza with allegorical figures representing Sorrow and Resolve, and a fountain watched over by stern stone eagles. Instead there’s a pit, and arguments over the usual muted dolorous abstraction approved by the National Association of Grief Counselors. The Empire State Building took 18 months to build. During the Depression. We could do that again, but we don’t. And we don’t seem interested in asking why.


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