Tuesday, September 11. 2007
Last year, just weeks before the fifth anniversary of the horrendous events of September 11, 2001, my Sweetie Scott posed this query on our family website. At that time I responded, and I still wholeheartedly believe what I wrote. In memoriam of this day, I would like to - respectfully - share my thoughts...
Above is a photo I took from the top of the Empire State Building in March, 2001.
On August 17, 2006 Scott wrote:
I keep hearing such great things about this movie (World Trade Center). I think that the fact that it was directed by Oliver Stone is turning people away. I think his reputation for politicizing and theorizing is detracting from what I hear is an amazingly personal, respectful, and uplifting story - albeit one set on one of the darkest days in our history.
I have mixed feelings about my desire to see this though. I still have trouble watching footage of that day, and the 911 tapes they released today are just too much .
Has anyone else seen this? Do you think it is disrespectful? Too Soon?
On August 18, 2006 I replied:
I don't think it is disrespectful to make a movie about September 11th. Treating it as forbidden material just gives it more power and mystique than it deserves; delaying our process of putting this horrific event in perspective. What should be forbidden is airbrushing out the World Trade Center from movies and photos in an effort not to "offend" those whom their destruction affected. That is like destroying photos and belongings of a loved one who has passed away because they might elicit memories. Certain images carry emotional baggage...sometimes it is personal, sometimes cultural. We can't obliterate everything that may sadden someone. Denial of strong emotions only causes them to fester and intensify...Sadness has a purpose and should be experienced as freely as any other emotion. Healing, acceptance or whatever resolution we come to regarding this is achieved the same as from any loss...it takes time and distance and contemplation. So I say, sure, it's fine to refer to September 11th in an artistic outlet...it is a fact of our lives. Suffice it to say that this tragedy lives in our collective minds (whether we want it to or not) as an example of how single-mindedness leads to hatred, which leads to evil actions...but that's just one girl's opinion.
That being said, I am vehemently opposed to movies that exploit a dramatic or evocative subject for the sole purpose of making me feel a certain way...that is downright manipulative. I think it all has to do with the handling of the emotional material. Do we need a movie chronicling the events of the day?...I think we all have that movie already etched in our mind, and to see that played out in a film would be superfluous, and even cruel. But if the events of that day can be used as a backdrop to tell a meaningful story, then it is brilliant use of a shared, cultural touchpoint that will personalize the overlying story.
Throughout the history of storytelling, those set against a tragic backdrop make for some of the most human and compelling stories. Maybe in the grand scheme of things, if minds can be opened through a story, and a morsel of enlightenment can be gleaned from referencing overwhelming tragedy, then at least we as humans can feel we are dealing with these inconceivable realities in the the best ways we can. I believe that what we do today touches the future, and hopefully what will ultimately be remembered from September 11th is not the evil, but how we overcame it, and gave the world more than was taken away that day.
Today, September 11, 2007 I add:
(Note: I have not yet seen this movie...but I also heard some very good things about it, and the clips I've seen look interesting.) I think once it came out and people saw exactly what it was - and wasn't - the furor quieted. One more reason for people to save their opinions until they have some facts to go on...
It seems to me that people closed-mindedly jumping to conclusions about something without being fully informed is what got the world into this mess in the first place!
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