I am still thinking about 9/11 today – even as my neighbors are resolutely getting past it.
I heard the words first spoken by Keith Sciulli:
“Hey, did you hear, a plane hit the World Trade Center.”
We walked together over to Rudy’s office to watch CNN.
Interestingly, in the days leading up to “the attack” /1, I had been indulging myself with a running debate with Sam over “Contention and Conflict in Modernity.”
As the magnitude of what had happened – and, what was happening still, became clear, I went home – just in case I got “the call”.
I stopped at the Hwy 9/ Mansell Starbucks for an Ice Vente Chai. I saw a few other pals there – Bill, Michael and Peter – and, of course, talk went right to “the attack”. Bill wanted the U.S. to go blow things up; Peter wanted us to respond “systematically and carefully.”
NOTE: It wasn’t yet clear that this was a foreign attack, and Michael noted that our last actual act of domestic terrorism was the product of a far-right militia (Oklahoma City).
It remains interesting to me that 9/11 is marked by time, whereas Oklahoma City is marked by place.
To be sure, the dreadful attacks of 9/11 did change history and American, as well as the world, culture and politics. But they did so because of the discursive growth they produced. As Foucault teaches us, discourse grows up around wounds in the same way scar tissue does, and in this case we’ve experienced an autoimmune disorder. The scar is now the bigger problem, and honoring the original wound should mean reinvigorating a commitment to democracy, human rights, freedom… All the things it hasn’t meant in the last seven years.
I made an extra donation to the Library of Congress this morning in honor of the thousands who died on 9/11/01, and the unspeakable torture, death, and waste that the authoritarian reaction has brought.
Ironically, Big Brother looms ever nearer and more ominous thanks to terrorists – or, George Bush – possibly their most unwitting foil.
Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork
1/ Just say the words: “The Attacks”, and people will always know what you mean. It’s now part of our national psychosis.