I’m not a big fan of reading about 9/11 anymore. I enjoyed the discourse when I first entered grad school, but it gets old when you’re reading at least three articles/chapters/books a year on the issue. It gets old. Yeah, it was important. What’s that? Another rhetoric article about Colin Powell’s speech to the UN? That was important too? Thanks RSQ! (No, seriously. They just published one in their fall issue) So, I’m sorry, but I’m going to write about it and not read what I wrote, because even I’m tired of the subject.
We really have no idea what we’re doing at this point do we? Sure, the President is most likely in NYC or DC or Pennsylvania at a site of attack, but the more common person? The company? The franchise? The worker? The student? I’ve now been alive for longer in ‘Post-9/11’ world than the good old days before the attacks and I have no idea what to do, but at least I know that this probably isn’t a good idea (according to the current social barometer of memorialization):
Probably not this way either:
But I don’t know if moments of silence, Facebook posts, or tweets are any better. What was so wrong about the golf course offering 9 holes for $9.11? I think the American public is in a bit of a crisis over how to DO 9/11, not just what to think about it, but what this date means for everyday life. I’m not advocating for some hegemonic moments of silence and reflection as was so common in the few years after the event, but there is still obviously still some right and wrong with how to go about your day. There are boundaries that we can and cannot cross. What’s wrong with mini-muffins as a memorial? Maybe Marriott wanted them to be some sort of food for thought embodied in actual food! Probably not, but who the fuck cares? I don’t usually see vegetarians getting all pissed off when meat-eaters want to cook a pig on July 4th in memory of 18th century revolutionaries. And I can guarantee you that there are no hidden thoughtful intentions there.
When the attacks happened, I remember Jon Stewart and many other comedians asking when it was going to be alright for them to make jokes again and others wondered when it was going to be alright to joke about the actual events. I’m guessing that we’ve passed that point, but now we have this new question.
When will it be OK to monetize/trivialize the memorial date? When will 9/11 be a state holiday that we can go and buy cars on? When can we roast some weenies and burgers on the grill on the second or third Monday of every September?
It probably won’t ever happen. I say this mainly because we already have one state-sanctioned holiday, Labor Day (What a fucking shitbag of a May Day we Americans have) in September. Adding another one would mean that businesses wouldn’t be happy with workers having too much time off.
Besides this more pragmatic problem, can the event be separated from work? The attacks fell upon places of work, not pleasure, and fell upon a weekday, ensuring that most people remember the events as told through televisions in their break room. The attacks began near the beginning of the workday. The American public was told after the attacks that it was necessary to keep on without heir everyday lives, which included work and, more importantly, the buying power that comes through employment. Work and purchase were so heavily tied in the weeks afterward. Well, those and fear really. We can’t forget our old friend fear.
I don’t know. Have a muffin and play a round of golf. As long as we’re spending cash and working, aren’t we really fulfilling the wishes of American officials in the days after 9/11? Isn’t that how we’re supposed to do 9/11?