I've been on a media black out for about a week now, at least where coverage of 9/11 is concerned. I've avoided the articles in the paper, the Truther's letters to the editors, the specials on TV. I've stayed of NPR and limited my web time to the most mindless and entertaining sites I can find.
So this morning, I was oddly surprised to find that even the comic pages weren't safe. I was surprised to fin that, unlike every other media outlet in the country this morning, they were filled with tasteful, carefully designed tributes to the losses suffered.
But here's the thing: on 9/11/01, I was cocooned in a world of work and baby and family. I lost nothing that day. No one I know was killed, no one was injured. A couple of friends were part of the numb parade across the bridges, but other than that I had no personal connection to anything that day. And watching the days and weeks and years unfold, I've had this strange sense that I'm eavesdropping on a stranger's funeral. I don't belong here and, quite frankly, the masturbatory need of some to co-opt this tragedy confuses and saddens me as much as the tragedy itself. It reminds me of the years when I worked with adolescents, when every tragedy took on a "what if that were me?" or a "I once sat two rows behind her cousin in biology!" hysteria. I didn't deny that they really experienced the world that way, but it reeked of narcissism and immaturity and made me want to shake some collective sense into them.
I think it takes strength to step back from the peer pressure of "never forget" and "Proud to be an American" today. It's not popular to day, "This grief belongs to someone else and I won't cheapen it by pretending it belongs to me." So I'm going to work in my yard and get ready for the week ahead without the Sponsored by WorldMegaCorp tributes and the flag waving ceremonies with all of their oddly jingoistic undertones.
I'm going to leave this day to the folks who deserve it- who earned it through 10 years of wishing they could forget, but never managing to figure out how.