Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11 From Two Viewpoints

On 9/11 I was in Connecticut. It wasn't the part of Connecticut which really exists in the shadow of New York - further East than that - but nonetheless in a place which was connected to New York. The city was a common destination, lots of people had friends relatives and direct connections to the place. Not everyone knew somebody killed in the attack, but just about everyone would soon find that they knew someone who lost someone close to them. Directly or indirectly people were affected without many degrees of separation.

Soon after I went back to California where I was living. There was a tremendous difference in how people were affected by it. It was a Big Deal, but people had much more distance from it. It was to a great degree not something which happened Here, but something which happened Over There. In my time in California I was struck by how much people in California seemed detached from what I considered to be "national news," recognizing that "national news" is in fact very New York- and Washington-centric and that physical distance and the time zone difference between these places oddly matters. 24 hour cable news is very much timed to the rhythm of East Coast time, and watching it from California it always seems slightly askew. On 9/11 most Californians were probably still asleep when the first tower was hit.

But, anyway, just a big hearty fuck you to the White House and the news media who have decided this day is largely a personal narrative about George Bush, a man who was almost entirely absent on that day then had a big giggle before falling asleep early. It isn't about him, and unless you were in New York or Washington or were close to people who were directly affected, it's probably not about you either.