Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Devil is in the Words

Today is a loaded day. For some of you, it's because you are actually affected by a violent act that happened on this day 9 years ago, and you have trauma to deal with and death. For others, today matters because of the consequences of that act, war and surveillance and the death of the always safe empire. But to me, this is the day when certain words died, and were resurrected as different unclean things. The birth of zombie words, and all the rules that came about as society tried to survive these words. Terrorism, patriotism, conservative, liberal, homeland, security. None of these words mean what they meant before. They will never have their original shape again in our country. Even writing the word country, it's unfamiliar. It's an attack word. Typing it out is like trying to throw a knife, you gain accuracy with practice. I'm scared to use it, because others are so much better with it than I am.

There are things you are not supposed to say or think, because these are things that make you a bad person. You are not supposed to say you think everyone is an asshole, or way more stupid than you. You are not supposed to voice the fact that you think about killing yourself, or killing other people, or burning things down. You are not supposed to say that death is cheap and easy and isn't that big of a deal because it happens everywhere, all the time. Because we aren't allowed to say these things, when someone does, we overreact. We label them irrevocably cynical, or mentally disturbed, or out to get cheap thrills. Or worse, we tell people they are insensitive. They aren't nice thoughts sure. People shouldn't think them all the time. But people do think them, and by banning them we give the words more power than they should have. Today is the worse day for this.

9/11 was not some singular major event. It was a sad thing, because it's always sad when people in a city are afraid, and when people lose their friends and family members. But evil things happen all the time. Buildings get bombed,infrastructures burn, entire fucking countries flood. Fucking Katrina happened and destroyed way more lives. So 9/11 doesn't mean that much to me. It was an inevitable thing that was going to happen. Other bombings will happen. They happen to other countries all the time. Lots more people die in bigger ones. It is what happens in a world made of boundaries. It shouldn't have been the beginning of a war. It wasn't another country bombing us. It wasn't the start of an invasion. It was an isolated terrible thing. I wasn't scared when it happened. I wasn't sitting around at work thinking Cleveland was next. I mean, Cleveland could have been next, I guess. I could have also been hit by a car that day, or any other day. Approximately 110 people die a day in car crashes, I could have easily been one of them. I could have contracted AIDS. 5700 people in the world die of AIDS every day, one of them could have been me. I could have been randomly mugged and stabbed. I could have been kidnapped and raped. I could have died because of an unknown allergy. I could have come home to a gas leak and lit a cigarette. There are lots of ways I could die every day, and on that particular day a group of people died in an unfortunate evil way.

So the act itself is not something I need to reverently think about every year. If anything, it's a day of shame, because of how our country reacted, and all the hate and stupidity that grew out of it. The people who died are not saints just because they were killed. It's not like all our best people, our most heroic and intelligent and beautiful people, were in those buildings. They were just normal people. Some of them were loved very much, and probably there were some nasty people in there too, and unloved ones, and ones that did bad things. If every year, the country marked the anniversary with just sadness, then okay. I'm okay with remembering a tragedy. Out of tragedies should come progress. But instead every year, this becomes a day to reinforce the Fears, to use those loaded attack words over and over, to talk about war and honorable death and patriotism, how to save the American Empire. Instead of moving forward with an intent to fix things, we are stuck in a permanent celebration of our own bravery.

All the evil that was created on 9/11 came from us. It was waiting there, to jump on an opportunity, to feed like a fungus on someones pain. And we let it grow. It's still growing. We are the ones killing the American empire, through mistreatment and entitlement and ego and God. The world is not safer. The world will never be safer. The world we have now is created on a foundation of death and battle and bloodshed and ownership, that is the history of the human race. If we want to live like this, in a rich and powerful country, in a fucking empire, then this is one of the consequences, people will try to kill us. There are other more important consequences too, like the resources of continents being raped, the world being sucked dry around us. Our economy is a vampire. Our patriotism is the equivalent of Twilight, painting sexiness around death. The only thing this parade of condensed Americana does is save us from having to think about our own major moral problems. Not just as Americans but as humans. We are criminals, and we should not be hiding our own serial killings by saying "look, they hit me, it was self-defense."

It's not like we have to hear this crap on just one day, and so therefore I should just shut up and let them have their one special day. No, this has been a constant barrage, for 9 years. An almost decade of feeding those fake words with old dried blood, and new fresh blood. If you wanted the numbers 9/11 to mean something to me other than hate, then you should have tried something other than war and revenge. You should have tried guilt.

But now, this will make me cynical. This will make me insensitive. This will make me unAmerican. The zombie words will come after me.


  1. Every year I feel like telling people to learn how to suck it up; repression works. And every time my rights are infringed in the amorphous cause of "safety" I feel like screaming.


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