If i seem a little out of touch, it’s because all of my free time has been taken up with reading multi-hundred page assignments for class and listening to the new Garbage album. And, man, if you think i got distracted when Tori’s disc came out you ain’t seen nothing yet. Also, i’ve apparently become a popular mecca for Ashleigh Banfield after praising her reporting in the WTC ordeal; i’ll have to find a nice head-shot to display on the sidebar or something; who knew that the random news reporter i was listening to happens to be one of the premier “news babes” of the ‘net? Go figure…
Philadelpha Inquirer: Kiss My Ass! I left a phone message and email for the writer of this story only knowing that it would be about blogging teens and not about the disaster angle. Wouldn’t you know that she didn’t email me back about it even though i was (as far as i know) one of the first Philly blogs to feature any reliable fact-based coverage last Tuesday. Not only did she not email me back about being interviewed, she used Brendan at Bokane in her story as per my recommendation of him… again, with no email correspondence. Of course, Brendan can be located easily via Google and i am but a drop in the bucket of teenaged reactions to last week’s events, but i still feel vaguely shafted by the whole thing. You should read the article, although it’s honestly a sortof “bringing blogging to the masses” kind of thing; nothing shocking.
MetaFilter mostly slammed Madonna for weighing in on the state of the nation during her Friday Los Angeles show, but after giving her speech a read i think it’s probably the most intelligent thing anyone has said in the past six days. To discount an opinion because it comes from someone of celebrity status is ridiculous, especially when it’s from someone who is so much more educated about the cultures of the world than some of the American’s who are so quick to give their opinion. Madonna is self-made, controls her own business, currently lives abroad, and has two young children. I think that alone would make me interested in what she had to say, but i think you’ll see that it wasn’t just interesting … it was true.
Howdy, Los Angeles! Having a good time? It’s kind of confusing trying to have a good time this week as you all know, and I want you all to know how privileged I feel to be in the position that I am in today.
We don’t…we’re not doing the show because we want people to forget, we’re doing the show because we want to remind people of how precious life is. And how full of joy it should be.
The tragedy that occurred this week is unthinkable but i want to think of it as a big fucking wakeup call. OK? But now that we’re all awake, we should stay awake. Acts of terrorism are going on in this country on a regular basis, ok? In England, in Ireland, in…Israel, in Palestine, in India, in Tibet, and Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in Africa and Bosnia and Afghanistan. I could go on and on. OK?
Last night, last night we said a prayer for in a moment of silence, ok, 18,000 people shut up. Hard to believe but it’s true. We had a moment of silence where we said a prayer for everyone who died Tuesday morning, for all the family and friends of those who died. Tonight, I’d like everyone to say a prayer for peace. I’d like everyone to say a prayer that President Bush practices restraint in his decision making, and he does not retaliate this act of violence with another act of violence, ok. Because violence only begets violence.
So please everyone, no kidding, can we just keep quiet, bow our heads, grab the person next to you, I don’t care, but please, say a prayer. Repeat, because I don’t know about you but I want to live a long and happy life, I want my kids to live a long and happy life, ok.
[Long pause followed by chants of “USA! USA! USA!” from the audience.]
All right, all right, I knew it wouldn’t go on for a minute. OK, USA, yeah, but the whole world OK. Start thinking in a global way. Please! Thank you very much. Thank you. I said it last night and I’m going to say it again, if you want the world to change, change yourself.
[via MadonnaRama, who should implement permalinks]
All of the proceeds from Madonna’s Los Angeles shows were donated to relief funds related to last Tuesday’s events, including one for children who lost parents in the tragedy.
And, oh, hi, i also have a life. I think this week was one that was ripe for all sorts of essay-length posts from me regarding what i mentioned in Monday’s mammoth post, but then Tuesday happened.
In 1996 i was 14, and i had just created my first website when TWA800 crashed. For the entire summer the footer of my painstakingly hand-coded splash page bore the visage of Mr. Benjamin, a favourite teacher of mine who had died on the flight.
I remember my reaction very clearly… how i was unable to tear myself away from Good Morning America that day before heading out to camp even though i didn’t know yet; how my mother was silent when she picked me up all the way until Broad Street; how the bottom dropped out of my stomach when i heard; how loosing someone who i didn’t even think about every day had a huger impact on my entire life than i ever could have imagined. I took a day off from camp so that i could go to our too-empty high school to sit with friends who understood how i felt, and when i got back the next day everyone had heard. It felt like they were all at once telling my how sorry they were and asking me through our van window how i was feeling and treating me like i was some fragile thing in a china shop that you are always afraid to brush up against because you don’t want to have to pay for it.
I don’t think i had ever known anyone else who had died of something that wasn’t related to age, and i wasn’t braced for the emotions that would result. Or for the consolations. I was utterly wrecked by both, but i kept it churning inside of my stomach because i didn’t know i was allowed to let it out. I thought that just knowing someone who died and was mentioned on teevee was not enough for me to have the right to be sad in front of anyone but people who shared my own position in the matter because my grief was so different than what everyone kept expecting.
Flight 800 is the first “Do you remember where you were when you heard…” that i had in my life, and it just so happened that i had a personal connection to it. For other people in my generation that event might have been the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, or Oklahoma City, or Columbine, or Princess Diana … there was no single across-the-board bookmark in our memory. Until now.
The funny thing about nationally (and internationally) televised tragedies is that we all feel like we have a right to react to them no matter how large, small, close, or far they may be. Everyone certainly does have a right to their personal feelings on anything that goes on in America, but with any other national event our collective obsession with being involved in the investigative process is only dwarfed in its tastelessness by our insistence that we be involved in the mourning process. Of course, this event is different in scale, scope, and national ramifications. But, after i got over my attempts to ascertain what was going on i stood back and realized that i have almost definitely not lost anyone i know… and i realized that at this point in time there is no place for my emotional or personal reaction to the tragedy that has befallen us here or anywhere else.
I remember how people thought they were being comforting when they offered their thoughts and prayers to me when really they just made me feel more fragile than i already was. This is not my tragedy the way it is for people who lost friends and family, or even for people whose cities were permanently altered. I can’t ignore the awful politics inherent to this situation, or that some people i know suddenly feel the need to discriminate again people with a different skin color or accent of their own.
What i can leave out of my reactions, although certainly not ignore, is my emotional and visceral reaction to Tuesday. If you are gushing about Tuesday, or if you are delighting in watching the investigation continually unfold on the news every night, i want you to take a strong look at what your interest is. Over the years i have learned to separate my emotions from my voyeurism because i don’t think it is my right to want to grieve on the behalf of anyone else, or to hear news that doesn’t pertain to me.
Yes, i am a Journalism student who hates the nightly news… every invasive investigative informational minute of it. There is something to be said for staying abreast of the current state of the rescue efforts in New York and in Washington, and on stories about the victims and their families. However, I think it is safe to say that the majority of America is partially or wholly ignorant of the motives behind the horror we’ve all been a witness to, and i very much hope that most of my readership is mature enough to focus on educating themselves before wallowing in the network’s excessive coverage.
You might disagree with everything i just said, but ultimately i think that anything else i could say couldn’t ever mean as much as my respectful silence on the matter. My thoughts are with everyone this has affected and, for now, i’m going to leave it at that.