Monday, September 11, 2006

Because everyone has something to say about 9-11


Rather than talk about 9-11 itself, which I think we all can agree was a) a tragedy b) a major turning point for America c) a tremendous shift in U.S. foreign policy and affairs, I'd like to talk about what really struck me today, perched here in lower Manhattan on the 5th anniversary: the flurry of media.

This morning, between 8 and 10 a.m., I biked down to the Financial District to my old apartment and place of work. The traffic was, as expected on a Monday morning, crazy, but before I noticed the NYPD in their dressy garb, I noticed the monstrous cable TV news vans with their extra-terrestrial satellite dishes. Not that it matters, but I literally couldn't see the mourners or "the pit" through the barrage of reporters.

As a fledgling reporter/journalism student, I empathize with the need to get the story. I also don't want to downplay 9-11. What happened then, the days before and the days after will, as cliche as it sounds, define my generation and those to come. But almost more interesting than 9-11 is our reaction to it, even how we choose to look at it in retrospect. Here are some highlights/lowlights:

-Oliver Stone's WTC. Do we really need the man from Con-Air to portray a NYPD firefighter? I think the story of 9-11 is compelling enough...why Hollywoodify it?

-Gawker.com's coverage of the 9-11 anniversary frenzy. I'm glad that there's someone out there (think digital John Stewart) who is keeping checks on the ridiculousness of the media. Power to 'em for not holding back.

-The NY Times "five years later" retrospective is comprehensive, literary and features some stunning photos (and mediocre mini films). I know that it is the NY times and this is New York, but this almost borders on 9-11palooza. It almost feels like it was written for Joe and Jane suburbia who want to feel like New Yorkers this week rather than, well, New Yorkers. I don't think the coverage reflected the actual mood here, which was indeed reflective, but the Times gives the impression that it was ALL anyone could think of. In New York fashion, garbage was collected, subways were ridden and although there were moments of silence and mass Beatles' singing, by my account, most people refrained from waving American flags in each other's faces. The dude at Duane Reade today said "Good afternoon," like always, not "United we stand."

-BBC. The Brits may be getting boiling up the Atlantic with their hatred of Bush and Blair's friendship (does anyone else see some sexual tension there?), but their coverage was eloquent, tasteful and comes the closest to winning the accuracy award. A lift of the pinkie to the UKers.

-A graphic interpretation of the 9-11 report. A great way to get people engaged in one of the most important documents to pop out of U.S. government in decades. If you haven't read the real Report, you should. But until now, chew on the format that's friendlier to us comicophiles.

-Fox News' 9-11 Section. I don't even know where to begin here. It was hard to read any of the stories, the page was so crowded with freedom. Demonstrates the difference between America and Merica, if you catch my drift.

And on that note, I'm out. You'll hear from me on September 11th, 2011.