9/11 Live thread? September 11, 2009 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Where's the Sept 11, 2001 live thread? MeFiFu failing me. It remains probably the best thing on the web about the event.
posted by nax to MetaFilter-Related at 6:13 AM (95 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

http://www.metafilter.com/10034/
posted by Liver at 6:18 AM on September 11, 2009


Here?
posted by Grlnxtdr at 6:18 AM on September 11, 2009


http://www.metafilter.com/10034/

A search for the "metafilterhistory" tag did it.
posted by Diskeater at 6:18 AM on September 11, 2009


Liver beat me to it.

I'll probably never get to say that again.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 6:19 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I clicked the MetaFilter link at the top of this page. Front Page -> Sidebar -> 5 Years Ago, then I changed last digit of the URL in the address bar froma 4 to a 1.

For the record.
posted by Liver at 6:27 AM on September 11, 2009


Thanks for finding it...

reading through, and seeing things like "nobody will ever enter those buildings again" is just... awful. It's like a horror movie, where I want to stop them and say no you don't get it it gets so, so much worse, but all I can do is watch and I know that any moment now I'm going to see a comment posted during or just after the collapse.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:34 AM on September 11, 2009


I want to stop them and say no you don't get it it gets so, so much worse, but all I can do is watch and I know that any moment now I'm going to see a comment posted during or just after the collapse.

It gets much, much worse than that a few months later even.
posted by DU at 6:36 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was glued to the TV for days from the first attack but I didn't remember everything happening so fast. Reading through that thread was a good reminder of how quickly everything can change. Prayers and thoughts to those who lost loved ones on that day and unmeasurable thanks to the men and women who have been serving overseas because of these attacks.
posted by pearlybob at 6:40 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


unmeasurable thanks to the men and women who have been serving overseas because of these attacks.

Welp, there goes this thread.
posted by DU at 6:41 AM on September 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Why? I'm not saying if I agree that they should be over there or not. I'm just thanking them for serving our country and being in that hell hole. Assume much?
posted by pearlybob at 6:44 AM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


On September 10th, 2001, I missed a phone message from my temp agency -- they had a job for me starting on the 11th. By the time I got it and called them back, they'd given it to someone else.

They didn't say for certain, but I am pretty damn sure that that job would have been in the Twin Towers.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:48 AM on September 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


From the original thread:

I keep thinking about what America will be like in 10 years vs what it would have been like if this hadn't happened.
posted by quirked at 12:17 PM on September 11, 2001


It's only 8 years later, and already this statement has me profoundly sad.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:58 AM on September 11, 2009 [30 favorites]


Another path to the thread, one that would work better for this case than it does for a lot of "where was that one thread" problems: the Archives are sorted by month and year. Finding a thread when you know the date is a snap.

Also makes it easier to see what the Metatalk traffic was like in the vicinity of any given contentious thread on the blue or the green.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:03 AM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is as good a place as any to mention I currently have 911 favorites. Of course, now someone will f*ck that up by adding or deleting one. Maybe I could preserve that number in amber forever by never posting anything good enough to earn a favorite or stupid enough to earn a "WTF I want to remember this assholey remark" type favorite.

Yep, just pure middle of the road vanilla comments and posts from me here on out.
posted by marxchivist at 7:15 AM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's disheartening to see how many of the links from that thread are now broken.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:24 AM on September 11, 2009


The Coast Guard just fired on a "suspicious boat" in the Potomac.
posted by EarBucket at 7:26 AM on September 11, 2009


It looks like the Coast Guard was just doing a training exercise.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:36 AM on September 11, 2009


I love how it went from 10 rounds fired to no rounds fired. Thanks CNN.
posted by cashman at 7:47 AM on September 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Man, I hate everything about 9/11 including the awful patriot-stirring mock solemnities that people insist on parading about every year.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:55 AM on September 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


A training exercise to indoctrinate your healthcare against your lying children!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:56 AM on September 11, 2009


Man, I hate how people whinge and complain about an event that they could pretty easily avoid.
posted by muddgirl at 8:03 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to say that I was glued to that thread on the day. I had already been reading MeFi every day for quite a while (like 2 years?) before that, though I hadn't registered yet... and in fact didn't finally register until about a year later. We were already in Greece, and I was going crazy for information because, while it was certainly covered here, it wasn't non-stop coverage, and I couldn't understand much of the commentary. I remember everything about that day... We were living in an apartment that we didn't much like, where we ended up living for less than six months. I've forgotten almost everything about that flat, but I can recall as easily as if it were yesterday exactly the way the sky looked outside the window (overcast, and everything seemingly silent and frozen, even though it was in the middle of the city, and late afternoon) and the gray, half-shadowy light of the bedroom when my husband woke me up from an afternoon nap, telling me "Fotini called - something really bad is happening in New York; you better come look at this." At some point not long after that, it seems like I spent about 30 hours straight crying, and refreshing metafilter pages and following links, as much as I could with our hinky dial-up connection and phone service and internet going mad.

I'm really, really glad that I had already discovered mefi by that point, because it was terribly comforting to have a channel that wasn't just demented noise and wild rumor-mongering, but had news faster than online MM... threads of relative sanity this ex-pat held onto for dear life. So, thanks, Metafilter, in case I've never said that before.
posted by taz at 8:06 AM on September 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


I turned off the TV this morning when the news started replaying footage.

Thanks, but no thanks. Blue sky. Red fire. Black smoke. White dust. Empty sky. Empty hospital beds. I remember just fine.
posted by zennie at 8:07 AM on September 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


I hate how people whinge and complain about an event that they could pretty easily avoid.

Avoid HOW, when it's all over

* The internet
* The newspapers
* The radio
* The television
* People's conversations?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:14 AM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


John Hodgman was furious that day, and the following days. Understandably.

Just sort of odd seeing someone who normally bases his comedy on distanced irony reacting that way.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:15 AM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hodgman's wife watched the planes hit the towers from the window of the classroom where she was teaching that day - angry, indeed.
posted by tristeza at 8:26 AM on September 11, 2009


Just to be clear: My comment was not an attack on Hodgman, it was my clumsy way of saying: We are all people, and some things can't be joked away.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:31 AM on September 11, 2009


Avoid HOW

'Don't Give A Hoot, Read A Book'
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:31 AM on September 11, 2009


Avoid HOW, when it's all over

Really? There was a short piece on NPR this morning about the memorial service at ground zero (remember that 3,000 civilians died - not a large number but certainly a memorable one). There was this question on Metatalk (I don't read the Blue at work, so maybe it's blowin' up there). Some memorial posts in my feed reader, but my feed tends to run progressive so there's no hurf durf patriotic stuff, mostly remembrances of New York and "where were you on this day?" type posts.

In Facebook... 1 conservative "Thank the troops that saved us from the Islamic threat" type thing. 1 "it's been a long 8 years".

No one I work with is talking about it all that much, but then again I work with a bunch of eggheads who probably don't remember what day of the week it is. Mostly we've been talking about the possible end of a two-year drought, since we had 2 inches of rain over the past week.

Maybe it's different for folks in other parts of the country?
posted by muddgirl at 8:39 AM on September 11, 2009


Maybe it's different for folks in other parts of the country?

Yes. Yes, it is. In New York, for instance. The only way I'd be able to "avoid it" here in New York is by staying home for the day and unplugging everything. And then pulling the blinds at dusk so you don't see the "Towers Of Light" thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:45 AM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


muddgirl: I hate how people whinge and complain about an event that they could pretty easily avoid.

EmpressCallipygos: Avoid HOW, when it's all over

* The internet
* The newspapers
* The radio
* The television
* People's conversations?


Muddgirl, If you lived in or worked in NYC during 9/11 or for several years afterwards, it was completely unavoidable. The tragedy and its aftermath was all over the local news here. Long after the national media had turned their attention back to the vapid antics of celebrities and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the local media covered the funerals for the victims (which went on for more than a year,) various stories involving the families of those affected, area residents and rescue workers who had health problems as a result of the collapse, etc., etc. PTSD stories -- from "how were your children affected?" to "should you get counseling, even years afterward?" Giuliani, the NYPD, the FDNY and other groups all wanted their share of the spotlight. And then, just when you thought the stories were trickling off, 9/11's anniversary would reappear, or there'd be an election filled with fearmongering rhetoric because for candidates, citing the date was politically expedient.

Through all of that and more, our city didn't look like home anymore. Because the most recognizable part of its skyline was missing. Many of us, especially those of us who commuted into Manhattan had a daily, visual reminder. If we didn't, reruns of sitcoms like Friends and dramas like the Sopranos had images of the WTC in their opening credits.

Reminders were everywhere and they were impossible to avoid. You'd meet people, and invariably the conversation would turn to "Where were YOU on 9/11?" Friends would come into town and ask to be taken to Ground Zero. Inevitably, the mass grave had become a tourist attraction.

You may have been able to avoid that. Be thankful. We couldn't, as much as we might have wanted to.

And on preview.... Most of my friends are New Yorkers. Nearly all of them have memorial messages up in their statuses on Facebook. As do I.
posted by zarq at 8:48 AM on September 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh, and by the way... the reading of the names that happens every anniversary?

It shows up on national cable networks across the country.

Here, it's on EVERY broadcast network. Every local station with a news division. And many radio stations, talk radio and music formats.
posted by zarq at 8:50 AM on September 11, 2009


Hodgman's wife watched the planes hit the towers from the window of the classroom where she was teaching that day - angry, indeed.

My brother-in-law was working in the Traveler's building a few blocks away. Saw the second plane hit. Saw people being thrown out of the building, or simply leaping to their deaths from the highest floors to escape the flames.

I can't even imagine how traumatic that was for him. What was aired nationwide (and what was repeated in local broadcasts) was edited and sanitized.
posted by zarq at 8:54 AM on September 11, 2009


The re-broadcasts were definitely edited and sanitized, but I remember the live coverage was not. They couldn't avoid showing the dust and bodies falling from the Towers. I don't think I've seen any footage since, as I actively avoid it around the anniversaries, but I can still see it in my mind.
posted by sweetmarie at 9:32 AM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I recognize that the situation is undeniably different in NYC. The city is different. I don't think that a yearly acknowledgment of that is what Burhanistan was talking about (I don't know where he's from). But then again, what do I know?
posted by muddgirl at 9:36 AM on September 11, 2009


I don't think that a yearly acknowledgment of that is what Burhanistan was talking about (I don't know where he's from). But then again, what do I know?

See, I always remind myself "but then again, what do I know" before commenting on others' reactions to sensitive topics. Because, that's just it -- I don't know what others' motivations are, what their scene is, what their issues are. And if I did know, maybe their reactions would make perfect sense.

So I just assume that I don't know, and it probably makes sense to them, and leave it. That's all I'm saying.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:40 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


The re-broadcasts were definitely edited and sanitized, but I remember the live coverage was not. They couldn't avoid showing the dust and bodies falling from the Towers. I don't think I've seen any footage since, as I actively avoid it around the anniversaries, but I can still see it in my mind.

There was a moment on WNBC around 9:15 or so: They were showing footage of the smoking buildings and were broadcasting a phone conversation with someone who was on the scene. He was describing what was happening, when he suddenly started shouting, "There are people falling from the building! OH MY GOD!!! THEY'RE FALLING FROM THE BUILDING!!!!"

At which point Chuck Scarborough announced "We're going to switch back to the studio now, so we don't start a panic. Obviously a very intense situation...."

That moment never re-aired. It's been eight years, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. Both WNBC and WABC showed people falling. And the latter's feed was simulcast live on CNN at the time.
posted by zarq at 9:59 AM on September 11, 2009


Thanks for finding this and posting it. Amazing, but utterly heartbreaking.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:07 AM on September 11, 2009


I was in a smaller California town on 9/11/2001, and I had no personal connection to the tragedies of that day. I went into a craft store for t-shirt materials, and overheard that they were running out of US flags. It took me a while to understand why people were buying flags.

I still like (and agree with) Sage Francis' Makeshift Patriot. His comments on the song are interesting, and the wikipedia page on the EP has more details on the recording of the piece. Every time I saw a cheap, plastic flag attached to car windows or strewn along freeways after they broke off, the song would come back into my head.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:07 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the original thread:

my greatest fear is how our government is going to respond. more erosion of freedom in the name of security. mark my words.

RebeccaBlood, words marked indeed.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:22 AM on September 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


Fark's thread from the day where they thank MetaFilter for the CNN link. Found from Jilder's comment on another MeTa thread.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:23 AM on September 11, 2009


I was at a memorial service this morning. The mayor and the other speaker who was there kept repeating "They hate us for our freedoms" and "They want to kill you too."

I'm so ashamed of what we've become.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 10:24 AM on September 11, 2009


It's apocalyptic weather in new York right now. Unseasonably cold, windy, dark and wet. It's not helping the mood.
posted by The Whelk at 10:25 AM on September 11, 2009


Great post on the 9/11 terror porn on Gawker, of all places.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:35 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


muddgirl: I recognize that the situation is undeniably different in NYC. The city is different.

OK.

burhanistan: Man, I hate everything about 9/11 including the awful patriot-stirring mock solemnities that people insist on parading about every year.

muddgirl: I don't think that a yearly acknowledgment of that is what Burhanistan was talking about (I don't know where he's from).

Perfectly possible that I am reading him incorrectly. But it does sound like he referred to it directly here.

It doesn't matter. Don't worry about it.

muddgirl: But then again, what do I know?

Just keep in mind please that for some New Yorkers, myself included, this is not an easy day. That's all.
posted by zarq at 10:40 AM on September 11, 2009


I'm not in NYC. I was venting because it all disturbs me regardless of where I live, much like many others. muddgirl made a dopey crass comment in response. At any rate, I hope that future remembrances of 9/11 are more enlightened and aimed at healing rather than picking scabs.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:51 AM on September 11, 2009


A quick look at the archives turned up this early gem:

"Is it wrong to love a machine? I'm writing this from my employer's new Toshiba ultra portable laptop which also happens to be using the wireless LAN. There's nothing quite like wandering around with a 4 pound, 1 inch thick pentium II 366 that's network enabled."

It's funny to read in our brave, new world of eee pc's weighing under two pounds, with about 2.5 times the processing power, and available for half of an average month's rent in this town... And dystopian panopticon-style electronic surveillance techniques, meant to safeguard our liver-ties from the terrorists that dwell inside our minds.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:54 AM on September 11, 2009


And damn, Mossy was down right prophetic in that thread. Wow.
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:55 AM on September 11, 2009


And holy shit - here's mathowie encouraging illegal behavior on the Front Page! Ten long years this crime has gone unpunished.... Cortex! Get out the banhammer!
posted by kaibutsu at 10:58 AM on September 11, 2009


The New York Times has a nice article up today: "A Fortress City That Didn't Come to Be".

I was considering making an FPP out of it, but as a one-link post it's just too thin on content.
posted by zarq at 11:08 AM on September 11, 2009


Doh. So of course, I forgot the link. :P

A Fortress City That Didn't Come to Be.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on September 11, 2009


I was living here in San Francisco eight years ago; I'd been here barely eight months, after nine years in DC. I felt sick and horrified and afraid and distant all at once.

The strangest thing to see was how many American flags were hung from the windows and balconies of this city, aka Baghdad-by-the-Bay, in the days and weeks that followed.
posted by rtha at 11:09 AM on September 11, 2009


Thanks. Bookmarked. Will go back and read thread now. G*d Bless America and all that (today of all days I really mean it)
posted by nax at 11:15 AM on September 11, 2009


Inevitably, the mass grave had become a tourist attraction. pilgrimage site.

Yes, there is a lot of prurient interest. But give us non-New Yorkers some credit. We also want to honor our (your) dead.
posted by nax at 11:22 AM on September 11, 2009


Wow, that's some weird reading now.
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on September 11, 2009


Seconding the recommendation of the earlier linked Gawker piece; it's really, really good. I will cop to reading Gawker frequently, and although I don't usually think their writing is that good, this article is great.
posted by Frobenius Twist at 11:32 AM on September 11, 2009


Pretty crazy to think it's been 8 years. I lost a friend and former EMT instructor that day.

Every year, I listen to the FDNY dispatches in memorium. It's definitely not for everyone, but you can find them here should you be interested:

http://www.archive.org/details/911_fdny_dispatches
posted by rollbiz at 11:34 AM on September 11, 2009


Ugh, dispatches are here.
posted by rollbiz at 11:35 AM on September 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Hodgman, here's a speech that he gave shortly after the events.
posted by Optamystic at 11:41 AM on September 11, 2009


Weird not seeing Al Queda mentioned once in that thread. Bin Laden gets a mention, but not before people have tried to hang it on the Palestinians (WTF? How?).
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on September 11, 2009


Yes, there is a lot of prurient interest. But give us non-New Yorkers some credit. We also want to honor our (your) dead.

No, I respect that. But here's what some of us may be feeling...I explained it to my parents with this analogy, and they kind of groked where I was coming from, finally.

Say you have a cousin that is killed in a very public accident, which for some reason makes national news and touches everyone.

So first you and your family are grieving. Then you start hearing from friends of your cousin, who reach out to you in your loss. Then your mayor. Then other people your cousin knew. Then people who only HEARD about your cousin. Then people around the country. Then there's a lot of people who never met you or your cousin, but were so moved by his death.

At first this is wonderfully supportive -- you're grieving, and it's wonderful that your cousin's life touched so many, and touching that the story of his death moved so many. And then they all start talking about organizing a memorial for your cousin, which is doubly touching.

Except...you notice that the people who are coordinating the memorial leave you and your family out of the planning more and more. When deciding on the kinds of things your cousin would like, they rely more and more on their own instincts, and less and less on you and your family. They argue amongst themselves about the proper way to memorialize your cousin, and they make sweeping decisions about what your cousin would have liked, despite never having met your cousin at all.

Then when you try to speak up about something that you know your cousin wouldn't have liked, you get shouted down for not being sympathetic to your cousin's memory.

Now, there are some people in your family who are still genuinely touched about everyone's gesture, and are comforted by the memorial as it takes shape -- the way they remember your cousin, the memorial as it is makes sense. But it makes no sense to the way you knew your cousin. And the memorial and the way everyone commemorates your cousin is taken more and more out of your hands, and more and more out of the way your cousin actually was, and becomes more about everyone else's grief than it is about your cousin in the first place. And -- there's nothing you can do about it any more, becuase there are too many people moving things in that wrong direction. You can continue to fight it, or you can grumble, or you can round up the family members who do happen to agree with you and do your own thing quietly; you'll probably end up doing one of those things.

Some of us just wish that our cousin was being mourned differently and things were kept more personal. I'm not stopping you all, but...I'm not going to go to mourn with strangers, is all. I'll remember my cousin in my own way, as I have more intimate knowledge of him.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:50 AM on September 11, 2009 [11 favorites]


That thread is the reason I joined MeFi. At some point later that morning one of my coworkers sent me a link to the thread telling me, "You have to read this message board! They're even posting pictures from New York now!"

MetaFilter is the one good thing that happened to me because of the events of that terrible day.
posted by JeffK at 11:57 AM on September 11, 2009


I was a few days away from turning 13 years old, and I was in my 7th grade keyboard class. We were all being loud rowdy middle schoolers since our teacher was late. Then he came in and said, "Be quiet. Be quiet. This is very serious. A lot of people are dead."

I don't think I had much concept of what the Twin Towers even were, beyond some big buildings in NYC. My memory of that whole time feels pretty weird to consider.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:06 PM on September 11, 2009


I know everybody hates Twitter, but I'm finding the Twitter Where Were You topic today surprisingly moving and interesting even though reading about all the people who were in school makes me feel ancient.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:07 PM on September 11, 2009


Never forget 9/11 how to find the metafilter 9/11 live thread.
posted by pwally at 12:13 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Empress, that was very, very well said. Thank you.
posted by zarq at 12:19 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Three thousand people died and we spend a trillion dollars and four thousand more American lives on two wars and achieve nothing but sullying our reputation abroad, killing a bunch of innocent people, and setting off on a path toward lawlessness, doublespeak, and authoritarianism. And back home, there's a 9/11 death toll every sixty days that's turned into a political football by crooks seeking reelection. Because people dying quietly without access to affordable health care doesn't make for compelling television. I will not memorialize 9/11. I will not have a moment of silence. I will not stop for one instant to mourn. Because the bodies are still piling up. The lawlessness and unaccountability has not ceased. The endless wars continue, now with a more affable public face.

I hate being this cynical. But when the man I voted for with hope in my heart and a desire for change in my soul stands in front of Congress and the nation and confidently assures us that under his Frankenstein health care plan poor women won't get the same access to abortion services as rich women and that undocumented immigrants will of course not be allowed to participate in any sort of health care program, well, I just hear another shovel of dirt falling on my country's coffin.

I'm sorry if I've strayed off topic. I didn't lose any family or friends on 9/11. I lost them later, in Iraq, fighting some fucking bureaucrat's war. I lost them to untreated diabetes and heart disease, because they couldn't afford to see a doctor, here in the richest country on the goddamn planet.

9/11 was a horrible tragedy, an act of immense evil goaded on by a sick fundamentalist ideology. And it seems to have taught us nothing.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:36 PM on September 11, 2009 [27 favorites]


I drank so much that fall. I still cannot believe the sound of the second building falling. I don't know if it came from the television or the street or the site itself (60-odd blocks south from the room I was in). I drank so much and in the winter we were on a beach in Mexico that was pretty void of Americans except one night at one of the 'bars' there was some guy going on about how he heard from a buddy that the pentagon was really hit with... I could not hear the rest of it, I was ready to knock his lights out - he had no idea what it was to smell that smell every morning until late October, and then the next summer when we turned on an airconditioner that had absorbed enough soot to hold the scent all winter. To go to a friend's house and get an escort through empty streets by a soldier with a lot of very serious weaponry about him. This ass had no idea what had happened.
I drank so much that fall. Yeah, I'll mourn my cousin in private, too.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:56 PM on September 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


Worth revisiting for RebeccaBlood's comment alone.
posted by fire&wings at 12:57 PM on September 11, 2009


Regarding "Makeshift Patriot":

Every time I saw a cheap, plastic flag attached to car windows or strewn along freeways after they broke off, the song would come back into my head.

It (the song) reminds me of the first time I saw one of the cheap "These Colors Don't Run" bumper stickers all faded out and ruined (if you were in the NYC area afterwards you know the one, usually it was sold wherever "Terrorist Hunting Permits" could be found).

Don't waive your rights with your flags.

posted by rollbiz at 1:32 PM on September 11, 2009


It is weird to read that thread straight through for the first few hours - it's like watching the whole thing in fast-forward.

I was the publisher of a small newspaper published in the afternoon. Usually nothing much happens during the morning, but that morning, rather than dropping everything to watch like most people did, our newsroom team swung into action and published a hell of an edition that hit the streets about 12:30, and then we kept right on going a published an Extra (the first since VJ day, I believe) around 3:30, including a lot of local reactions and analysis. I was pretty proud of that team. The paper was the North Adams Transcript.
posted by beagle at 1:34 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos, I respect (and agree) with your opinion of the situation, but this is a lot more than your cousin, unless your cousin was the president of the US. The Twin Towers, if they stood today, would be in the top 10 or 20 of the world's tallest buildings (depending on how you measure height). The north tower survived the blast of a 1,500 lb (680 kg) urea nitrate-hydrogen gas enhanced device in 1993. It has been featured in pop culture since the 1970s, up to the first Spiderman movie (but removed after 9/11/01). Maybe it wasn't celebrated, but it was recognized far and wide. Now it's gone, along with many of the people who were inside.

I have no personal connection to that event, and I find the hype around the memorials "Freedom Tower" to be ridiculous. But I understand that it's more than the 3,000 deaths and two buildings that are being remembered and mourned. I don't live anywhere near all that, so I can avoid TV and ignore the news reports, and let people do what they will for the people, the site, and whatever else they associate with those events. I understand you may not be able to look the other way because it's all around you. But in a couple days or weeks, things will be back to the way they were a month ago - 9/11/01 still happened, but it won't get more than passing attention from most folks.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:36 PM on September 11, 2009


http://www.metafilter.com/10034/ -- Aforementioned 9/11 thread
http://www.metafilter.com/10035/ -- doesn't exist
http://www.metafilter.com/10036/ -- doesn't exist
http://www.metafilter.com/10037/ -- doesn't exist
So did MeFi just zap these old threads rather than de-index them?
posted by crapmatic at 1:36 PM on September 11, 2009


Fuck, it was all so awful.

I didn't live in New York yet (I was in my senior year of high school, back home in Alabama), but I was in New York just one week later, to look at colleges. Flying into LaGuardia, that column of smoke was just terrible. And the "missing" posters—they were everywhere. It still hurts.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:39 PM on September 11, 2009


*gloves coming off*

filthy: you're not telling me anything I don't know.

But what you DON'T know, and couldn't POSSIBLY know, is by virtue of being here at the time, I simply have TOO MANY FUCKING MEMORIES TO ENSURE THAT I WOULD EVER BE ABLE TO FORGET WHAT HAPPENED, and so trying to tell me to "never forget" is just hobbling me.

Because I wish I COULD forget. I know that for all the rest of you who weren't here, it was a tragic even that you all watched on your televisions -- but for those of us who lived here, it was absolute chaos and the world coming down around our ears and we couldn't escape it and the only way I can even STAY SANE is to block off an entire chunk of sensory experiences in my brain. And after the fact, even when I was trying TO put it behind me and FUCKING MOVE ON, I still couldn't, because for a good two years after the fact, any time anyone met me and found out I was from New York, they would ask me about 9/11 as if it were a FUCKING TOPIC OF COCKTAIL PARTY CONVERSATION. Imagine a stranger at a cocktail party trying to make small talk and the best they can come up with is to ask, "so, what was it like coming home to find your beheaded dog on your porch, anyway?"

It took me another two years of seething inner rage at everyone who didn't live here for me to understand that there simply IS no way to convey to you all what that was like, because quite simply, you're not me, you weren't here, and it's not your fault that all you got was the TV version. Be fucking grateful for that -- because you could turn off the TV if you wanted to. I couldn't. not that I couldn't turn off the TV --- but it was outside the window, and you can't turn off the window. And even if you pull down the shade, the smell -- yeah, you can't get the smell from the TV -- was there for an entire month afterward.

And we're not even getting into the "have you seen..." flyers that stayed up for a good solid three months after the camera crews left. And the two solid months of funerals for the firemen. And in my case, the minor recession the city went through because a lot of the big corporations left town for a year because they were too spooked (I was unemployed for an entire year, and had to live on credit cards and I'm still paying that debt down to this day).

and the reason that a lot of these experiences are so raw is because a whole bunch of corrupt politicians then exploited the worst day of my life for a fucking political point. The point I'm trying to make is that while for you the day was about an attack on an important national symbol, for us, IT WAS SOMETHING PERSONAL. I understand your need to commemorate this because it had national impact. But understand how this was something PERSONAL for us --- and imagine what it would be like if you were trying to heal and move on from your spouse's murder or your kid's murder, but you couldn't because EVERY FUCKING YEAR people would parade around waving pictures of your loved one's mutilated bodies in your face and urging you to NEVER FORGET, when forgetting is precisely what you have to do or else you would completely break down. Every time we try to stand back up and move on and move forward, because good Christ we are ALIVE and we LIVED THROUGH THIS, someone pushes us backward again and keeps us tied to the past and makes us feel like we have to go back eight years to that point in time and I WANT TO MOVE ON BECAUSE IT IS NO LONGER 2001 ANYMORE, PLEASE LET ME MOVE ON, I KNOW YOU WANT TO REMEMBER BUT I WANT TO START FORGETTING AND MOVING ON SO PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST LET ME.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:57 PM on September 11, 2009 [25 favorites]


[....takes deep breath]

Now. none of that rant is to say that I think everyone else should stop commemorating the day however they personally choose to. Only that if there are those of us who snark that Ground Zero has become "a tourist attraction" or say that we "can't avoid" the coverage and that we're trying to hide from it, and that we want to be left alone, just TAKE our WORDS for it please, and LEAVE us alone, because you very well may be doing more harm than good otherwise.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:04 PM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


ALL CAPS DRAMA!

Me, I went to jury duty today. Then I was dismissed within an hour. Then I went with a friend--also summoned, also dismissed-- to have Bloody Marys at nine AM. Truly, I will never forget.
posted by Skot at 2:29 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Life Magazine - Classic New York: The 1940s (44 photos)

There are a couple 9/11 galleries for those interested.
posted by gman at 2:30 PM on September 11, 2009


EmpressCallipygos - please accept my apologies for my quick comments on things I cannot understand or comprehend, and probably don't wish I could.

Unfortunately, we can't separate the people from the place. I'm not one to make pilgrimages to such sites, produce televised specials nor seek for them out to view, nor buy or make memorabilia for this event. But because my non-presence isn't making things better for you, I'll offer you a place to stay on the opposite of the nation, should you find yourself with the ability to leave town and visit California. (Same for anyone who wants to escape the pomp and parades.)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:40 PM on September 11, 2009


> And even if you pull down the shade, the smell -- yeah, you can't get the smell from the TV -- was there for an entire month afterward.

Yeah, I still remember that smell. I wasn't a member then, but I kept refreshing the MeFi thread all day; everyone else had left the building but I couldn't get home to Queens so I just hung around, and it was the best news source I had. Thanks, MeFi. And hang in there, EmpressCallipygos.
posted by languagehat at 2:40 PM on September 11, 2009


So did MeFi just zap these old threads rather than de-index them?

Before there was the current practice of hiding deleted threads but keeping them in the db, stuff just got nuked. That changed relatively early on on the blue, but possibly it hadn't gotten to that point by 2001.

Metatalk by contrast saw things nuked until some time after I started.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:17 PM on September 11, 2009


What Empress said.

I wasn't being snarky.

Most people who come to Ground Zero and see the Sphere in Battery Park are quiet, solemn and respectful. Some wish to honor the dead. And then there are also folks who don't. To them, it's a tourist attraction. Like the Statue of Liberty. They're there to take posed pictures of each other and then go shopping for bargains at Century 21. I do understand. It's hard to equate mass murder with a giant hole in the ground.

Every time we try to stand back up and move on and move forward, because good Christ we are ALIVE and we LIVED THROUGH THIS, someone pushes us backward again and keeps us tied to the past and makes us feel like we have to go back eight years to that point in time and I WANT TO MOVE ON BECAUSE IT IS NO LONGER 2001 ANYMORE, PLEASE LET ME MOVE ON, I KNOW YOU WANT TO REMEMBER BUT I WANT TO START FORGETTING AND MOVING ON SO PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST LET ME.

We weren't allowed to forget. Let's not forget the fucking politicians on both sides of the aisle who used our dead to further their own agendas. Daddy pulled out of Iraq too early? "Look! 9/11!" Running for local office? "I'll keep you safe from another 9/11!" Running for President? "9/11, 9/11, 9/11, 9/11!" "If there's another 9/11, who do you want answering the phone at 3am?" Scare tactics. Fearmongering. DHS security alerts that meant nothing. Ridge was forced to issue them when he knew damned well there was no reason to do so.

As far as I'm concerned, they should investigate his ass and then hang him for treason. Bring back the fucking guillotine. Then go after his bosses. You know who was affected by those alerts? New Yorkers. By the bomb scares and fear of boogeyman terrorist attacks. And the DHS KNEW it was all bullshit. Every one of Cheney's 2004 campaign speeches could be summarized into the simple phrase: "Do What I Say, Or The Terrorists Win."

*sigh*

We all deserved better.
posted by zarq at 3:20 PM on September 11, 2009


Wow, take a walk everyone.
posted by hermitosis at 3:36 PM on September 11, 2009


Weird not seeing Al Queda mentioned once in that thread. Bin Laden gets a mention

As such, al Qaeda was virtually unknown at that point, whereas Osama bin Laden was already an FBI Ten Most Wanted fugitive two years running. Google News chart. You would have to have been a national security professional to have heard of them, almost. Heck, the moment I saw the gaping hole, I thought bin Laden! but I may not have heard of al Qaeda before that day or one soon after.

They sure did create a brand with a single stroke.
posted by dhartung at 3:54 PM on September 11, 2009


I owe you an apology too, filthy -- that wasn't all directed at you in the slightest, actually. I'm just a bit more volatile this day -- and one thing that's always tweaked me is any kind of "ur doin it wrong" implication about anything, and a lot of the people I know have had a bad habit of making that implication.

In truth this is more directed at the person who commented in a friends' facebook feed about how concerned she was that she was the only person who'd mentioned 9/11 on her status, and she was already up and dressed her kids in red-white-and-blue and they were going to church, and...and you could just sense the schoolmarm-ishness in her and my teeth have been kinda on edge all day, because I've seen a lot of that in real life over the past 8 years too.

I also realized a few years ago that I can explain until I'm blue in the face and people who weren't here STILL wouldn't get it -- precisely because you weren't here. But that's the nature of Big Events happening to cities -- we all see it on television, but only the people IN that city know what it was like. Probably the only people who have any idea of the kind of "what it was like" I'm talking about are people in New Orleans. Not because they were the same incident, but because they were Big Events that everyone else in the world kind of took to their breast -- except they weren't there, so they were reacting to what they saw on television. Which has an element of unreality to it. The way you process Big Events you saw in person is just DIFFERENT from the way you process Big Events you saw on TV, and there's nothing that can change that.

Most people get that, but some don't, and think ill of the people who saw it in person for not reacting the same way as someone who only saw it on TV. And that just leads to subtle "ur doin it wrong" statements and I just get twitchy.

But you didn't deserve the full-on rant, so, my apologies.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:59 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Most people who come to Ground Zero and see the Sphere in Battery Park are quiet, solemn and respectful. Some wish to honor the dead. And then there are also folks who don't. To them, it's a tourist attraction. Like the Statue of Liberty.

This is by no means unique to Americans or Ground Zero, of course. I was a bit bemused when I was in Hawaii. Big Japanese tourist presence there. The big stop for tourists on layovers waiting for their flights to the mainland? Pearl Harbor and, particularly, the Battleship Arizona which was sunk by the IJN with almost 1200 men going down with the ship. They weren't there to commemorate the dead or because they felt bad or anything. (I grant there are almost certainly many exceptions). But for most it was just a bunch of cameras clicking away, no different than at the statue of liberty.

I sort of wondered how some of the obvious WWII vets who were also present felt about it but, being a kid, would never have dared to ask.
posted by Justinian at 4:04 PM on September 11, 2009


Empress, here's what I wrote sometime in October of 2001. I hope it helps you understand how the rest of us feel and felt. (A few months later, I started mofb, so apologies for basically bloggin here)

Living Inside Grief

There is no one outside our grief over September 11. Every tragedy I have experienced has happened to me, or to them, but never to us. How do you find someone to feel empathy with you, when everyone is experiencing the grief at first hand? Vietnam happened like a movie, in gruesome footage that we yet knew was shot and edited and censored and packaged for our consumption. It bolstered or outraged or informed; whatever its intent or effect, it was happening to someone else. One’s response could be measured and rational, at least by one’s own estimation. One could act on the information, because it happened to someone else. There was an element of control.

When my mother died, that happened to me and to my family, but the people around us were outside of it. I could look at them and see where I’d been and where I would be. I was experiencing pain that they could relate to but didn’t share, except in a remote way. There could be sympathy, or empathy, because it wasn’t happening to them. They could help because they were, not uninterested, but disinterested, touched only by my grief, and not their own.

We all said that the Oklahoma City bombing was our wake up call, our loss of innocence, until it turned out that one of “us” did it, a random if deadly madman we could dismiss and turn away from. The nation was horrified, but the grief stopped at the Oklahoma border. And the people there could look outside their grief and see where they’d been and where they’d be. The rest of the nation was a shoulder to cry on.

There are no shoulders to cry on today, because it happened to all of us, at the same moment. I cannot go to a friend for sympathy, empathy, or comfort, because my friend wants that from me. There is no one to whom this has not happened, no one to look to and know, I will get past this, because her life is not affected, and his life moves on and mine will too. No one’s life will move on from this. I cannot ask for relief from pain from people who are also in agony.

Empathy and sympathy are remote emotions, to be offered by people touched by, but detached from the first-hand pain. This pain is all at first hand, and there is no one to offer comfort.
posted by nax at 4:47 PM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, I appreciate that, nax.

I know I'm speaking of a weird sort of dichotomy here -- it happened to everyone, except it didn't at the same time. The way that it happened to people who lived here and the way it happened to people who didn't live here is different. Mind you, it would suck of me to quantify whether one type of experience or another is worse or better, and I'm not negating the emotions brought on by those who just watched it on a screen. but thre was more of an immediacy brought by having it not just be something I watched on a screen, but also by something I watched in real life, and heard, and smelled, and...But by the same token, someone who was actually in the Towers also experienced things on a much more firsthand level than I did. The pain was first-hand for all of us, I get that, but there's still a difference between pain over watching something on TV and pain over watching something out the window.

Again, none of these degrees of separation gives any of us a hierarchy on pain, or a final ruling on who knows The Right Way To Have Reacted. Because we all experience grief differently. I'm suggesting, though, that for people who had a more immediate first-hand exposure to what happened, there's just a bit more stuff to wade through, and we're just processing it at a different rate than others -- and there's a reason for that.

I noticed something once -- my theater company was doing a reading of a play that had "loss" as its overarching theme. It was set in the first few days after 9/11, and so one subplot was about a person potentially being missing in the Towers. But the playwright played other types of loss against that -- a recluse who'd had a romance finally having it broken on him, a girl's loss of her virginity, a man stuck hanging on to the memory of a woman who'd left him years earlier.

And there was a really lively audience discussion afterward that split up into two camps - one half the audience said that they felt that it was a good idea, but the 9/11 stuff sort of overshadowed the other plots. But the other half of the audience said that, oh, absolutely not, they thought that the 9/11 material blended in just fine.

After about 20 minutes of this back-and-forth on this issue, I finally had a thought. I asked for a show of hands: who had actually been in New York City on 9/11? The people who had been here raised their hands, and confirmed my suspicions -- they were the same people who had said that the 9/11 material overshadowed the rest of the play. The people who said it blended in, were people who hadn't been here.

I used to have a big axe to grind against the people who claimed to have suffered on that day ("you weren't there! You didn't know!"). I used to frequent a site that discussed television, and one of the general-discussion threads was about "the most shocking thing you saw on TV." The implication was that they were looking for FICTIONAL things, but every so often someone would come in and say "9/11", and a few people would discuss that until I left a snarky comment that for some of us it wasn't just a TV moment and it pissed me off to compare 9/11 to Buffy the Vampire Slayer's killing a guy or whatever. It took a year for me to get that for a lot of people, yes, it was a TV moment, but that didn't mean they didn't get freaked out.

I still maintain that it's different, though. Not to claim any speshul snowflake status, but to explain that there are different types of grief, and different types of processing all of what happened -- and yet some of us were given shit over how we processed things, and I don't think that was fair. So we just sometimes may get a little defensive.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:37 PM on September 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


It took a year for me to get that for a lot of people, yes, it was a TV moment, but that didn't mean they didn't get freaked out.

And for some of us, who live near DC, where things weren't quite so visible, the moment was a sort of admixture: a TV moment about things that were happening right next door. Knowing that one plane had already struck mere miles from my house, and that others may be on the way, that another had been on the way before it mysteriously crashed; well, that's a particular kind of horror. Not so visceral as the column of smoke and the dust and the screams, but just as penetrating.

I was in 7th grade in the fall of 2001. I grew up perhaps five minutes from the Pentagon; not so many people died there, and my neighbors and I saw no smoke and smelled no burning flesh, but still the events made an impression on us. My dad hardly ate for over a month, and for a good four or five years the sight or sound of airborne jets made me tense and wonder if it was normal for them to fly so low. But ultimately we were all fine, of course; after the confusion and fear of the school day, wondering if my parents and my friends' parents were OK, if there would be another one, if we would have to flee the area, if things would ever be normal again, the evening passed quietly. Perhaps my most vivid memory is of sitting with my family on the porch in the early evening, and my mother remarking how odd it seemed for something so horrible to happen on such a beautiful day.

It was another beautiful day today. As I walked across campus after work this evening, I happened to pass through the main quadrangle. As I crossed the lawn, off to my left was a candlelight vigil and a field of tiny flags. To my right, a pair of families picnicked on the grass, idyllic serenity practically coming out of their ears; the children played with a dog, and the parents were smiling and drinking wine. The grass and the trees were green, even in the fading light, and a flock of small birds passed over, heading south, tiny specks against the golden clouds.

The candles, the flags, and the morning paper were quite a contrast next to the smiling family and the greenness of the grass, and I know which sight I prefer. We all began today with reminders of death and darkness, not just of that day, but also of the years after. But I will not wallow in those memories. I spent my entire adolescence watching the nation appear to slowly suffocate under the weight of its own panic and fear. I have no more patience for fear, especially of things so long passed. Instead, I am content to relax, and laugh, and enjoy the company of living things.

I guess that's my bit of armchair philosopher wisdom for the day. The sun has gone down now, here on the east coast, but it's still a beautiful evening. I am going to go sit outside and enjoy it.
posted by Commander Rachek at 6:46 PM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Speaking of DC, what was up with the (what I can only assume were) intense fireworks I heard about an hour ago? Something about using any kind of explosive anything today strikes me as a slightly inappropriate way to remember.
posted by naoko at 7:20 PM on September 11, 2009


Empress, one thing I have learned from you is that I need to NOT ask people from NY "where they were, did they see it." I think for those of us who were elsewhere that question is a way to legitimize our pain, and also an (apparently misguided) attempt at empathy. I won't do it anymore. New Yorkers are, in a way, the celebrities of our national tragedy; although many of us had friends or acquaintances directly affected, we weren't there and so these feelings are hard to justify in some ways, or even to quantify. The grief I am reminded of when I read now what I wrote then feels false, not least because the far right has spent the past 8 years denying me my right to that grief because of my politics.

Commander Rachek, I still cannot trust these bright, white, clear September days. I always remember how beautiful the weather was that day too. I think the downing of the WTC has ruined the beauty of September for me forever.
posted by nax at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2009


Oh, mercy, I didn't mean to make you think that what you felt was "false" at all. There is no "good" or "bad" grief, there is no "legitimate/illegitimate" or "false/true" grief in this. You felt grief -- period. There is no false or true about that.

I think, though, that when you said "New yorkers are the celebrities of our national tragedy", that gets more to the point of what I'm speaking about -- and that's a damn good way of putting it. In a weird sense, the people who actually live in a place where a tragedy happened are kind of like celebrities -- we're on TV so much, this weird quasi-relationship gets set up between everyone. But just like celebrities, having that shared association isn't really...the same. The way David Tennant presents himself on camera, and even in interviews, is most certainly different from David McDonald the man in his private life, and a fan having watched every single last episode of Doctor Who or Blackpool or any of the other things he was in and also watching all his interviews and reading all his press and etc. still can't really claim s/he knows the man the same way you'd know someone if you met him and knew him personally. Neither is better or worse, they're just different. (If you still doubt the legitimacy of the grief that we feel when celebrities have bad luck -- think about how crushed people were when John Lennon was shot.)

I think all I was getting at is...we didn't ask to be celebrities, and we didn't ask for the city to be its own celebrity. Even people who did ask to be celebrities get a little miffed at the way fans breach that difference now and then; the writer Neil Gaiman recently grumbled a bit on his blog about a fan who tried to ask him for an autograph while he was in a men's room and was standing at the urinal tending to business (he didn't say, but I hope to God he refused on the grounds that his hands were full). We kind of get that same way -- only on top of that we also didn't ask for that kind of celebrity in the first place.

By the same token, though, some celebrities also don't mind chatting with non-celebrities for a while, and similarly some New Yorkers also handle 9/11 differently too. Some probably wouldn't mind talking about their experience, while some do. Some fervently think that it should be even more of a tourist destination than it is, while some don't. It all depends on the individual, and I think that's more what I'm getting at -- we're more than just 9/11 celebrities, and the city is known for way more than that. And sometimes it feels like people forget that, that's all.

Group hug!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:35 PM on September 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos - I didn't think you were ranting at me directly, but the larger situation, and I understand that.

Justinian - But for most it was just a bunch of cameras clicking away, no different than at the statue of liberty.

This reminded me of another thread, summed up well by a comment from Joe Beese: "I knew someone who visited Auschwitz. Since he was raised Conservative, I assumed he must have been drawn there by a special sense of pilgrimage. But when I asked him if the experience had given him whatever he'd been hoping for, he couldn't seem to make sense of the question. As best I could tell, he just kinda went. This made no sense to me."

My wife teaches high school. 9/11/2001 was 8 years ago, so freshmen in her classes were 5 years old. Unless they have some personal connection with the events, it's a hazy memory for them, most likely lacking the emotional attachment that so many adults have, remembering where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news for the first time, and in the following days. If you don't live during the even, it's history for you. It's even more removed than just being a live news event.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:20 PM on September 12, 2009


Bit suprised to hear I had equivalent knowledge to a national security professional back in early 2001.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on September 12, 2009


naoko: Speaking of DC, what was up with the (what I can only assume were) intense fireworks I heard about an hour ago? Something about using any kind of explosive anything today strikes me as a slightly inappropriate way to remember.

If you live in NE, than it's likely you heard fireworks from the National Eucharistic Congress at the National Shrine next to Catholic University.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:38 PM on September 12, 2009


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