I've been sort of keeping a low profile when it comes to TV and the media of late, so perhaps that's not too surprising, but still, I was genuinely surprised that I'd forgotten about the day. It's not, I will be honest, because I was affected or touched in some way by the disaster, because I wasn't; no one I knew died, and by virtue of being on the other side of the planet, I was fairly removed from the entire thing. It was--and perhaps this will upset some--just another tragedy unfolding on the TV for me. At the time, I was interested in the politics, and the events that lead up to the day, but it was a hindsight thing, a curiosity I had while being force fed the government line that it was an unprovoked, evil attack. Trace these things back and you can always find reasons and I was interested in that, for a while. But it was fairly impossible to avoid the media saturation of the event itself after it had happened, and I believed, back then, that I would simply not be allowed to forget the day, that the community as a whole would force me to remember it. To a degree, that's exactly what happened, since I learnt about it while reading blogs and sites this afternoon.
Yet still, until then, I had no idea, and the fact that I had forgotten surprised me.
The effects of it can still be felt, however: the use of the word terrorism, the way certain cultures became suddenly exploitable in ways that they had not before, and the hysteria that followed the days, weeks, months and years after it.
When I was originally writing this post, I thought I might throw an image, or a youtube video in, but after a while, I began looking for a certain short film I saw, years ago. I've forgotten the title, so if someone could help me out, I'd appreciate it, since I'd like to watch it again. It was, if I remember right, a film that was part of a set of short films about 9/11, and which were made by directors from around the world. If I remember right, there was a lot of that after the day. Stories, films, comics, opinion pieces, everyone had something to say, which is how it should be, though only a few stick in my mind now. One is this film of one of the towers. It begins as a long shot, and all you can see is debris falling from it, little black pieces plunging to the ground. As it continues, however, the camera zooms in, and you begin to realise, somewhat painfully, that the debris you're watching is actually people, a person, in fact, in a suit jacket plunging down to the ground, having chosen to leap out of the building, rather than stay.
There was something about the image that stuck in my head. It managed to convey that sense of falling, of rushing down at the ground, but drawn out in those moments--I can only imagine--that stretch before you as the broken pavement forms before you, grey and solid and without give.
(Crossposted to benpeek.com)