Sunday, April 30, 2006

United 93

Dean Esmay, my favorite HIV-denying crackpot, is miffed that someone didn't praise the 9/11 movie "United 93" high enough for his taste. He links to a smirking review of the Salon review by someone called "Cranky Insomniac," who calls Salon "smug and French-sounding."

No doubt these people were captains of the debate team in high school.

Salon's Stephanie Zacharek feels pretty much like I do about the movie (which I haven't seen yet) - no matter how well-made it is, I wonder what the *point* of it is. Why does it exist? Clearly 9/11 is one of the most important historical moments any of us will ever experience, and as such I think it's more than fair game for dramatizations and discussions of all kinds. I even defended the film to a friend, who also hasn't seen it, who proclaimed it was "in bad taste" by definition. I disagree.

But unfortunately the project reminds me of "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson's tragically wrongheaded version of Christ's crucifixion. If all we're shown is two hours of bloody torture, what do we learn about Christ's death? Similarly, what is the point of immersing us in the terror that those passengers felt?

Of course for Bush cultists, who wrap themselves in the fuzzy blanket of 9/11 on a nightly basis, that *is* the point of this movie. Because if it were up to them, we would all be watching footage of the twin towers exploding 24/7, our eyes propped open Clockwork-Orange-style so we couldn't look away, ever. No amount of outrage, and the reliving of outrage, is enough for them.

Well I have a message for those people: get the hell out of my mind. How dare you say that what I feel about 9/11 isn't enough. How dare you presume to tell me how I should interpret that event.

The tragedy of 9/11 is that it changed everything, and changed nothing. And no movie, no pundit, no stupid country song on the radio is going to erase that truth. Ever.

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