Alas, for those of us in the news business, “getting back to normal” isn’t much of an option: I’m off to work to write about the attacks again in a few minutes.
So I’ve been listening to some pretty somber music today — Red House Painters, Scud Mountain Boys, Tindersticks. But I decided to put on something a little peppier and threw on R.E.M.’s Eponymous. Fine, until track 12 hits:
That’s great, it starts with an earthquake, birds and snakes and aeroplane…world serves its own needs, dummy serve your own needs…wire in a fire representing seven games…a government for hire and a combat site…
With the furies breathing down your neck…team by team, reporters baffled, trumped, tethered, cropped…save yourself, serve yourself, world serves its own needs, listen to your heart bleed…you vitriolic patriotic slam fight bright light feeling pretty psyched…
Six o’clock TV hour, don’t get caught in foreign towers…slash and burn, return, listen to yourself churn…locking in uniform, book-burning, blood-letting, every motive escalate, automotive incinerate…light a candle, light a votive…uh oh, this means no fear…A tournament, a tournament, a tournament of lies…offer me solutions, offer me alternatives and I decline…The other night I dreamt of knives…You symbiotic patriotic slam…
It’s the end of the world as we know it — and I feel fine.
Strange — it never sounded quite so menacing on previous listens. Maybe Stipe is the real Nostradamus?
Since I write for a living, I’m probably more sensitive to attacks on the media than most. But I’m amazed at the degree to which some people believe the press purposefully distorts, withholds information, and outright lies. For instance, the idiotic rumor that spread across the Internet yesterday that CNN had passed off archival footage of Palestinians celebrating in 1990 as being filmed Tuesday. Of course, it’s truly dopey to believe that. But plenty of people did.
Sure, things get distorted or misinterpreted or reported inaccurately by the media. Happens all the time. But to say it’s part of some sort of conspiracy hatched in a backroom by Walter Isaacson, David Broder, and the ghost of Kay Graham is just silly.
If anyone’s interested, here’s some of what I’ve written on the attack so far: a piece on the response of international students at North Dallas High School, an article on the difficulty of getting back to normal Wednesday, and a piece on how schools are using the attacks as a teaching tool. (I only contributed to that last one, which was written by Dan Barber and Katie Menzer.)
You can always count on Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell to turn tragedy into bigotry (from “The 700 Club”).