September 11, 2001
    Like everyone, I have thoughts and feelings about what happened on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. What follows are some of the thoughts, observations, impressions, etc. that have been lingering in my mind since that day.
September 18, 2001   + Media conglomerate Clear Channel is taking a lot of flak for that list of songs they circulated to their over 1,500 radio stations, songs they thought might be inappropriate for their stations to play as the country tries to recover from September 11 events. While the whole thing quickly got blown out of proportion--the story soon circulated on the Internet that this was a list of songs the company had "banned"--it nevertheless remains disturbing as another example of the reactionist climate sweeping the country and the country's dominant media. That two songs by Cat Stevens were on the list was especially unsettling to this observer: could it be because he's a Muslim? Or could it be because the songs in question are decidedly about peace?
    + great site, by the way--has put up a gallery of nearly 230 front pages from newspapers both here and abroad that were published on Wednesday, September 12th. Quite a fascinating "exhibit" to cycle through. I noticed the quote "our nation saw evil" was particularly popular among headline writers. One thing was also clear: the San Francisco Examiner's "Bastard!" headline still takes the cake for most lacking in journalistic integrity.
    + Along the lines of that Amazon top sellers of the moment list I mentioned a few days ago, one should check out The Lycos 50 for another pulse-taking read on the public's collective psyche post September 11, 2001. The Lycos 50 documents the top 50 search terms of users of the Lycos search engine. The top seven search terms for the week ending September 15 were Nostradamus, World Trade Center, Osama Bin Laden, New York, Terrorism, American Flag, and Afghanistan. I find it hard to believe people would type "American Flag" into a search engine, but apparently millions did last week. Google's fascinating Zeitgeist page offers similar statistics. Second on their list of "Top 10 Gaining Queries" for the week ending September 17 was "CNN," presumably from folks wanting to access the network's web site. In this day and age, I'm disheartened that so many folks wouldn't think to just type in
September 17, 2001   + Someone needs to tell Bush's handlers that they should never let the man speak off the top of his head, ever again. This morning's seemingly impromptu press conference at a Pentagon meeting (which was shown on tape no less!) was downright embarrassing. And this "wanted dead or alive" nonsense? I thought we were entering a "new era" and here our President is quoting posters from the Old West?
September 16, 2001   + Are others as disturbed as I am by the fact that at the moment there are not one, but two books by Nostradamus among's top 10 books sold list? (On the flipside, I suppose one should be heartened that five other books in the top 10 deal either with Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban, or terrorism.) And of course, like Gordon Sinclair, Nostradamus' prophecies are now tearing down the Information Autobahn at blazing speed.
September 14, 2001   + Bush said this morning at the memorial service in Washington, "Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil." Evil. Another grandiose, bloated, and abstract word added to the stream of grandiose, bloated and abstract words and thoughts uttered since the terrorist strikes. He and a few other folks would do well to read Hannah Arendt's The Banality of Evil.
    + When I kept hearing the terrorists referred to as "cowards" or their actions as "cowardly," I was puzzled. Their actions certainly didn't jive with my definition of that word. I was heartened to come across this article by someone similarly puzzled.
    + Where are the stories on the television networks about Arab-Americans being threatened or attacked by their fellow Americans? These networks had no problem showing scenes of Palestinians--most of them children--celebrating the terrorist attacks, yet for the most part can't be bothered to shine the light on this shameful behavior by some American citizens. Could it be that it might distract from the party line of America-coming-together-and-rallying-around-the-flag? Could it be that the networks are aware that their jingoistic coverage may be a direct contributor to this backlash against Arab-Americans?
    + It didn't take very long after the terrorist strikes for ALL television news networks to run their 24-hour coverage under titles like "America Under Attack" or "Attack on America", as if they were showing us a made-for-television movie. These have now given way to new ones like "America Mourns" or--particularly unsettling--"America's New War" (CNN).
    + ABC and Peter Jennings have been by far the most watchable of the wall to wall news coverage, although that's not saying too much. By contrast, what's happened to Dan Rather? Was he always this much of an asshole with tight underwear? Is this really the same guy who asked Nixon if he was running for something? Here's a "rather" interesting site (sorry, obvious pun) aiming to document Rather's alleged bias against Republican presidents and conservative causes.
    + -- rather simple idea, and quite moving.
    + I must say it's amazing the speed at which things like Gordon Sinclair's nearly 30-year old pro-American editorial get circulated (or re-circulated) on the Internet, seemingly like one big conspiracy. On the Wednesday after the terrorist attack I received said editorial via email from a friend, and within hours I saw the same damn thing popping up in posts to every single email list or newsgroup I'm subscribed to. Christ, even Mahir the Turkish Rico Suave didn't travel this fast.
    + The San Francisco Examiner used a single word headline to top its front page the day after the attack: "Bastards!" Highly ironic that the former Hearst newspaper resorted to the type of yellow journalism that William Randolph Hearst more or less invented. Let's just hope the WTC Twin Towers don't go down in history as this century's USS Maine.
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