Looking into the Past by Jason Powell.
I want to re-reblog this image because everyone’s getting so up-in-arms (no pun intended) about 9/11 posts, both here and on facebook.
The commentary provided by this photograph is invaluable. The subject of the photograph within the piece is people watching and thinking, trying to process tragedy. Holding that image over the actual skyline represents our way of processing the tragedy, a constant imposition of the image over the actual skyline so that the past covers the space of what now exists.
We could argue that this type of processing isn’t processing at all. We can’t rebuild because there is something about the tragedy still scarring our sight. We still can’t see what’s there because of what happened.
We’ve defined the tragedy through this kind of intellectual play. ‘A scar on the American psyche,’ you might muse. ‘A simulacrum of tragedy.’ And, really, can you think of the tragedy without remembering the footage? How much of what you experienced came to you from TV (the footage), a newspaper (the image), and radio (the words)? How quickly did the tragedy transform into an “attack on our freedom”?
I fear those moments removed the tragedy from the tragedy. 9/11 spawned so much grief and insecurity that we never even got the chance to talk about. Discussing the tragedy separated us from the bare bones problems of soldiers sent to war and our people trapped and choking on smoke. 9/11 taught us new fears.
I was so confused, and it made me so afraid. If we were the biggest the best the most beautiful, then what was happening? Why? Because they hate our freedom, said the TV. It told me not to worry, that we were still the biggest the best the most beautiful. People cried all over the world, playing solemn anthems of regret. Because we’re the biggest the best the most beautiful, said the politicians. The tragedy happened because we shone so bright.
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