Today marks the eighth anniversary of what was billed as the game-changing cataclysm of this generation, drawing a hard line between the antediluvian giddiness of the '90s and the steady deterioration of the Bush era, panic now seeping up past our knees as the clamor of some mad-dog future grows closer.
At the time, everyone tried with apparent earnestness to react appropriately, searching for some elusive happy medium between the agreed-upon "inappropriate" extremes of Toby Keith and Cassetteboy. And of course, everyone failed.
Eight years later, "9/11" has been reduced to the most overworked political shorthand (though its translation depends very much on which cipher it's read through), the man purportedly responsible & his semi-nonexistent network remain at large, several other nations have been struck by spectacular & tragic attacks, the most heated online argument remains whether or not there was US involvement in taking down the towers, and half the American population seems to feel their own president is a greater threat to their nation than any foreign entity.
The only certainty, the only thing that hasn't vanished in plumes of dust & a whirlwind of dissonance is the anger. Anger at some amoebic phantom enemy, who strikes without explanation or a list of demands; anger that America learned the wrong lessons and become a greater bully that it had been in years (though not even a decade); anger at the maudlin, melodramatic tones in which the event is discussed; anger at the taboo of discussing the event with anything other than reverent, cotton-soft solemnity; anger at anyone who even appeared to exploit the event for box-office receipts or a political boost; anger at anyone who'd undermine the newfound unanimity of a nation in grief; anger at those who'd invoke God to justify either the event or that which followed; anger at those whose denial of God led to the event and that which followed.
Now, so many of those threads of rage have become interwoven that it's near impossible to remember which one we started with. We certainly can't see where it's going, and we see no way of divesting ourselves of it - nor would we want to. We've been angry this long, we want to be see only red until someone cures us (a miracle!) of our crimson blindess... just to make sure it's all been worth the wailing & gnashing of teeth.
Personally, I'm just exhausted of it. It's a beautiful day outside, so I'm going for a stroll. Meanwhile, here is one of my absolute favourite pieces of music, from Nino Rota's score to Fellini's Il Casanova.
Addendum: Anyone up for a rousing game of Jenga?