Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tomgram: 9/11, "An explosion out of The Towering Inferno"

[Note to Tomdispatch readers: As an experiment in I'm-not-quite-sure-what, I've just begun blogging at the Nation magazine website's group blog, The Notion. Check out my first entry. It's a good place to be, rubbing e-shoulders with Katrina vanden Heuvel, Jon Weiner, William Grieder and many others. I'll probably continue to do this a couple of times a week.

The following piece is my attempt to reconsider the American response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 on this fifth anniversary week. It will appear in the upcoming issue of the Nation and is posted here thanks to the kindness of that magazine's editors. A final plug: If you want to dig a little more deeply into the world that prepared us to respond as we did that September week, you might pick up a copy of my history of American triumphalism and the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture. Tom]

9/11 in a Movie-Made World

By Tom Engelhardt

[This article, which will appear in the September 25 issue of the Nation (on the newsstands this week), is posted here with the kind permission of the editors of that magazine.]

We knew it was coming. Not, as conspiracy theorists imagine, just a few top officials among us, but all of us -- and not for weeks or months, but for more than half a century before September 11, 2001.

That's why, for all the shock, it was, in a sense, so familiar. Americans were already imagining versions of September 11 soon after the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. That event set the American imagination boiling. Within weeks of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as scholar Paul Boyer has shown, all the familiar signs of nuclear fear were already in place -- newspapers were drawing concentric circles of atomic destruction outward from fantasy Ground Zeroes in American cities, and magazines were offering visions of our country as a vaporized wasteland, while imagining millions of American dead.

And then, suddenly, one clear morning it seemed to arrive -- by air, complete with images of the destruction of the mightiest monuments to our power, and (just as previously experienced) as an onscreen spectacle. At one point that day, it could be viewed on more than thirty channels, including some never previously involved with breaking news, and most of the country was watching.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

2 comment(s):

manifestation is a powerful thing. manifest fear through your own actions and look what you get!!! let's keep spreading the love.

great article!

By Blogger Scout, at 1:00 AM  

Right on!!

By Blogger Annamarie, at 1:47 AM  

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