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The aftermath of terrorism
|I--your editor Cleolinda (my nom de 'net)--have several points to make, and will make them briefly, if not very eloquently. The first is that helping.org is a wonderful organization through which you can help any of the many charities that have come to the forefront after the terrorist attacks last week: the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the New York firefighters' funds--a one-stop shop, if you will.
The second is that, in terms of news coverage, I have personally had NBC on 24-7, but have now switched to CNN, seeing as how 1) local news keeps breaking into the NBC coverage (for the love of God, people! Nothing is going on in Alabama that I need to know right now!!) and 2) the major networks will obviously have to return to "regular" programming at some point. You can go to cnn.com for their excellent online coverage of events as they unfold.
Which brings me to my third point: How do we move forwards from here? Can we? I hesitate to use the phrase "move on," because it implies a certain callousness, a certain spirit of denial that verges on dishonoring the victims. None of us want that. What we all do want, I think, is to understand what we can and should do in our daily lives. Give what we can to relief funds and blood banks, obviously, and not just this week but the coming weeks; but how do we continue to move through daily routines that now seem inconsequential, if not downright frivolous?
Both President Bush and the leaders of New York answer that question by saying that we must live life as "normally" as possible, because, in Governor Pataki's words, "We have to, in honor of [the victims], get back to business." The way I see it, this is more a call to return to normal actions than a return to normal emotions; we must at least go through the motions, even if we grieve as we do so, as the Lovely Emily and I have begun to joke, In Defiance of Terrorism. Why joke? Because she's editing hunting magazines...In Defiance of Terrorism. I'm applying to grad school...In Defiance of Terrorism. Together, we are continuing to update this silly movie news website...In Defiance of Terrorism. I dare you to set the nobility of the intention and the mundanity of the action side by side and not laugh. Because I believe we should laugh, even as we weep; we should laugh all the way to Osama bin Laden's house, nail-spiked baseball bats in hand ("Mrs. Afghanistan, we want Osama to come out and play").
So there you have the philosophy of the Daily Digest in a nutshell: We feel guilty as hell for running this site, but we're going to keep doing it anyway. In Defiance of Terrorism. So long as you, our visitors, understand that we understand. Movies pale in comparison to watching the World Trade Center Towers collapse like pixy sticks on live television. At the same time, movies were a major part of the war effort in WWII, raising both morale and money for charity; they are probably the most American means of expression, and so we will continue to cover how they, too, manage to move forwards.
We--I--would like to make two more points. One is that I, like most of the Digest staff, nearly break out into hives and/or profanity whenever I contemplate the utter goddamned stupidity of the terrorists. There is something to be said for each side of the Israeli-Palestine conflict, which is partly why it is so difficult to resolve; however, using innocent people as guided missiles to murder yet untold thousands more is not it. Whatever Osama considered his "cause" to be, it no longer carries any moral weight whatsoever, and there is no sane nation in this world, free or not, that can support him now, whether they like America or not. Pardon my French, but Osama bin Laden has basically shot his "cause" in the balls. If you want to protest something, you do it the Gandhi way, and it pisses me off that thousands of innocent people had to die so that Osama bin Laden could fail at his own task. Because if he thought we would fear him, he was so incredibly wrong: as a Japanese general said back in the Pearl Harbor days, "I fear we have wakened a sleeping giant." And the giant is very, very pissed off.
The second thing I want to say before we deliver you back to your regularly scheduled movie news is intertwined with the first: Do not make the same mistake that Osama bin Laden has made. Do not think he is any kind of Muslim, as the Muslims themselves will tell you. Oh, he thinks he is, but he's not. The program "Talk Back" on CNN just now has run a round-table discussion between a priest, a minister, a rabbi, and a Muslim cleric (who, after taping, walked into a bar together...) discussing this very fact. (We will post a link to this transcript as soon as CNN posts it; it was that good.) Do not make the mistake we ourselves made back during WWII, when we rounded up innocent Americans of Japanese descent and interned them in camps. Muslims in and outside of the United States (with the exception of those bastards dancing in the streets of the Palestinian Left Bank; when Yasser Arafat condemns you, you know you're an ass) have come together with the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs, and untold other religions to condemn Osama bin Laden and his kamikaze cowards. (When we come to fight, you'll get a warning shot, Osama. Right before NATO vaporizes you.) Please, please, please: the Digest asks that we come together as a nation. Inform yourself about what it does and does not mean to be a Muslim: the cleric on CNN made the wonderful point that Islam is a religion of peace, and any Muslim who says otherwise is no good Muslim. If I, born and bred a Southern Baptist, can urge tolerance, God knows you can too.
In conclusion: Go to your house of worship. Go to someone else's house of worship. Give blood. And don't give up. In Defiance of Terrorism.
For further information on Islam and the Middle East, go to Supercalafragalistic's page, which has suspended its movie coverage to offer educational links.
Read the editors of Mr. Cranky's thoughts on the attacks, which range from patriotic to furious to hilarious: You'll laugh because you know it's true.
Read Roger Ebert's lovely suggestion for a memorial site, "Make it green." Cleolinda has been forwarding the link and the text to everyone she knows, hoping that the idea might grow wings; you might want to as well.