We won’t know when the next terrorist attack happens. We will be confused and we will suspect any violent act or accident anywhere. Note that the cowards who perpetrated Sept. 11 did not “take credit” as we oddly call it. Silence is their strategy. It will spook us. So yesterday, we saw a bus crash caused by a man described as Middle Eastern and also described as nuts. We all assumed terrorism. But now they say not. Take yesterday’s apparent hijacking in India (below); now we hear that it was all a practice run against terrorism. Leave me off that airline. This morning, we see news of an outbreak of the ebola virus on the border of Afghanistan; that is one of the germs we now fear in a biological attack. Next: Anthrax in Florida (but’s just one case, not an attack, they say). And then we see an Israel-to-Russia plane exploding. Terrorism was not ruled out by Russia; then Americans reported that it could be an errant training missile; we don’t and won’t know. So the strategy still works: We’re spooked.
Minireview of The West Wing from a former TV critic (once a TV critic, always a TV critic): I predict that this will be the best treatment of the September 11 tragedy that we’ll see on nonfiction TV … for years. It is too soon, way too soon, to know what the hell all this hell means. But this was an intelligent effort, surprisingly good, considering the lack of time. Yes, the show was talky and preachy and sometimes awkward, but I don’t know what other critics expected: a popped-vein president pounding his fist for mere dramatic effect or mass tears and fears? No, the writers tried to bring us a moment of sane reflection on an insane event and that is a noble attempt. And I will bet you a Tivo that it will be far wiser than any exploitive headline-ripping we are sure to see on Law & Order.
Kottke [10/4 entry] catalogues the mess the world is in with attacks of terrorists and diseases:
Jesus. Now there’s a possible epidemic happening in Afghanistan involving an Ebola-style virus? Please, please, please don’t let this be terrorist related.
Jets crashing down around us, Jews killing Palestinians, terrorists killing civilians, Palestinians killing Jews, half of Africa infected with AIDS, millions suffering in Afghanistan, nuclear threats resurfacing, possible biological disasters. I don’t think I ever quite appreciated the unique status my generation has enjoyed in America up until now, never having fought a war or had its freedom or autonomy or lives challenged in any meaningful way, not compared with the rest of the world. I’m starting to appreciate it in a big way now. I want my innocence back, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
On Scripting News, a brilliant parody of the debunked urban-legend picture of the guy supposedly atop the World Trade Center as a plane approached. The terror Zelig. Under Oct. 4, look for, “Remember the poor schmuck….” More here.
– Britain’s Blair has said he has enough evidence against Bin Laden and the Taliban. Here’s his document.
– More security-cam photos of Atta et al before they boarded their weapon.
Samantha remembers the killer settling into the crushed red velvet chair, staring blankly up at her while she undulated her hips inches from his face.
He didn’t look evil, she said. Not even interesting. Certainly not like a man who would, just three months later, hijack a jet and smash it into the World Trade Center to slaughter thousands of people in a suicidal fireball.
To the 29-year-old stripper, Marwan Al-Shehhi simply looked “cheap.”
“Some big-man terrorist, huh?” Samantha said this week as she took a breather from the two-dozen lap dances she bestows daily upon the lonely at the Olympic Garden Topless Cabaret. “He spent about $20 for a quick dance and didn’t tip more.”