An audio narrative of Sept. 11
: I decided to record my story of Sept. 11 one last time, telling the fuller story and telling it in audio. Every time I have told more of my memories, I’ve heard from people in email and on other blogs who’ve told me to keep giving witness; people come to read it. And so, before I forgot the details, I decided to try to record it but this time in audio instead of type. This could be a really bad idea — bad Spalding Gray — but I thought I’d try. Let me know what you think. Here is the link to six brief (small as possible but, unfortunately, still not small) MP3 files.
Four months after: A suitable memorial, a proper use
: So what should be done at the World Trade Center? Rudy Guliani says the site should become nothing but a memorial. Mike Bloomberg says it should have a memorial and other building. I agree with Bloomberg: We need a mix of rebuilding and remembrance. We need renewal.
Hardly anyone is arguing anymore for re-creating the twin towers. Who would rent up there? Who would visit up there? My worst chills after Sept. 11 still come not from remembering being underground every day but from being on top, on the roof, with my child, many months before the attack. I wouldn’t go up there again. We don’t need the towers back. No, we need moderation now, a proper use.
But we do need to rebuild. We need to bring life back to the site. And life, in New York, means business and commerce and culture. We need offices for the sake of the New York economy and because work is how we live. We need commerce to bring people and normalcy; we have to be able to live our lives there once again. We need culture because that is a part of New York and it would be a proper gift to a neighborhood that needs the attention.
And, of course, we need a memorial. It is too soon, far too soon, to draw the outline of that memorial. If we created it today, our memorial would be filled with too much sadness or too much bravado or worse, both: tears on top of tacky statues. Time will give us the right balance of mourning the deaths and celebrating the lives, of sadness and pride, of the past and the future.
As a lasting memorial, I envision a place where people can come and spend time and on a day like Sept. 11, 2001 — in the minutes before our world changed, when the air was as clear as a mountaintop’s, and the sun was bright and sharp, and the sky was blue and hopeful — we can enjoy the peace and reflect and remember the people: the tremendous heroism of the day. I don’t want to see the word “victim.”
I think we should start with a blank slate, just space, as we plan the renewal: a temporary memorial that lives in our minds until we build the physical one.
And in that time, while we plan, we should bring the shame of the city down upon those who are trying to exploit this place and its tragedy and turn it into a place for tourism and crass commerce and emotional voyeurism. I don’t much like the platform and the gawking that comes with it. I am offended by the city’s efforts to drive the people who come there across town so they will shop on the way. I abhore the Ground Zero hats and terror tchotchkes. This is holy ground and we should treat it as such. Besides, there’s really nothing to see there now; it is a hole in the city. I understand people wanting to be near. But we must treat it with respect until we can renew the place and our lives there.
: Andrew Sullivan nya-nyas Tina Brown’s Talk, saying he has as many visits as she has subscribers and doesn’t lose $55 million getting them. “And people think that Internet media is an old story? Itís only just beginning.” If only he convince advertisers of that — on behalf of all Internet media. Sullivan does brag he’ll make money this year and that is something to brag about. Meanwhile, Natalie Solent beats the micropayments drum. And I had lunch with Nick Denton today hatching and cracking other schemes. There’s no question this new thing is powerful. The question is: How can it be profitable?