There's no shortage of dreadful sixth anniversary writing out there. I was going to let it all slide � my own contribution to the solemnity of the day � but Anna Quindlen's desparate search for metaphor in Newsweek simply begs for a response.
Everything about the enormous urban square where the World Trade Center once stood, once burned, once fell, is terribly sad because it has been so sanitized. THIS IS A SPECIAL PLACE, says one small sign on the construction fence, but there's no sign that that's true. Everything has been done to make it seem ordinary. Girders, cranes, gravel, hard hats�it looks no different from the places nearby where luxury condos rise.
Yes, how dare they construct four new towers using girders and cranes! Whose dumb idea was it to sully the Ground Hero site with mere gravel � couldn't they use tiny gold nuggets hand-gathered from the buried depositories? And why do workers on this sacred site need to wear hard hats? Won't angels magically cause any falling debris to turn into harmless marshmallows before they hit?
Quindlen is right: new buildings at the World Trade Center site must only be constructed of pure freedom held together by the spirit of America and tears.
Update: More bad anniversary writing after the jump.
Here's the lede of David Andelman's essay in Forbes.
It was 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, and I was at home in Manhattan, preparing to leave for the New York Daily News, where I served as business editor, when I glanced up at the television tuned to CNBC. It was just in time to see what appeared to be a small airplane fly into the side of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Good thing CNBC just happened to have a live camera trained on the World Trade Center that morning, huh? False memories of 9/11 are an established and understandable psychological phenomenon. But even if Andelman's head was muddled, shouldn't an editor have caught this?
Update: This one crops up too often to count, but keep in mind, when you read off-hand comments about how there have been no attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11, that maybe there have.
True, the anthrax attacks might not have been foreign terrorism � but in the post-9/11 atmosphere, they were certainly presumed to be. The New York Times, for example, folded them into the special 9/11 section it ran for several months. Their presence loomed large in our minds. Yet today, most of us have literally forgotten all about them � despite the fact that the perpetrator/s were never caught. For pundits to simply claim, unqualified, that there have been no more attacks � and often even to credit the Bush administration and others for ensuring this � is a unnerving comment on our collective memory.