Despite my strong opinions and feelings on the subject, I have never written about my own experience on September 11, 2001 on this blog, primarily because my own experience pales in comparison to many of my fellow New Yorkers, the passengers on the planes, and the victims in Washington D.C. who lost their lives. I believe that this experience is something that everyone holds closely; In the days after September 11, individual experience was an issue open for conversation among New Yorkers who, sharing drinks in pubs or conversation on the bustling sidewalks, sought a connection with their fellow citizens. Shortly thereafter, things returned to semi-normal and people justifiably stopped talking about it; The need to try to move on was obvious. I still have a difficult time watching the footage of the day, I have no desire to watch fictionalized accounts of September 11 and I rarely (if ever, I honestly can’t remember) have written anything about the attack. Post-September 11 policies and politics? Sure. Documentaries? Yes, a couple of them. But writing about the experience? Never.
That policy ends right now. Tonight, I was catching up on an episode of HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher when all of a sudden, this broke out:
Now, while that is good TV, I would like to make it clear that I have had enough of the September 11 “Loose Change” conspiracy crowd and their condescending disrespect for the the reality of what happened on what was the worst day of my life. In the same way that I won’t listen to the nonsense spouted by Holocaust deniers who spew the most outrageous nonsense in their complete dismissal of the experiences of millions of the dead and the thousands of survivors of the Nazi camps, I can’t sit idly by and allow this bullshit to slide knowing full well that thousands of people who lost their lives are being completely misrepresented by this group of liars. I am not going to give a line of my own ink to the idiocy that passes for analysis from these people, so let me just state my own experience so I can deal with this issue honestly and openly.
On September 11, 2001, I took the D Train from Brooklyn into Manhattan to go to work in the Empire State Building. When I arrived in my office on the 24th Floor, a co-worker mentioned that he had heard that an airplane had hit one of the World Trade Center towers. I immediately put on WNYC FM on the internet and listened to the reports from nearby the area and as the reports came in, the host of the show stated that it appeared as though another plane had hit the other tower. Immediately, my colleague and I looked out of the north-facing window of our own building to see if a plane was on its way toward us, because we had no idea what was going on. We mentioned to our boss what was going on and we decided not to wait around and to leave the building. I took the elevator down to the first floor, out the door on 34th street and I ran back to the subway. I caught the last D train back into Brooklyn and as that train crossed over the Manhattan Bridge in absolute silence and stopped there for a good 5 minutes, we watched the Towers burn. When we finally got to my stop, I bolted from the station to find traffic in the Grand Army Plaza area at a stand still, with police turning cars around, sending people back where they came from. I distinctly remember someone screaming at a traffic cop to let her through as she was already late for work and the officer saying “no one is going to work today, ma’am. You have the day off. Now head on home.” By the time I walked into my apartment, the first tower had already fallen. I watched the second one collapse from my couch. I didn’t move for days.
More than my own experience, which was not that of someone at the scene, the experience of so many of my friends and colleagues, people who had to walk uptown through the dust, people who saw and recorded the event in person; None of them have ever indicated that anything these conspiracy theories want us to believe are true. Sure, there are suckers born every minute, but why do they always seem to be on the side of trying to manufacture a conspiracy where there is none? I’m simply astonished that so many people could fall so hard for something that is so blatantly false; It’s like the whole Protocols of The Elders of Zion hoax, or this “idea” of Creationist “science” or any of the other nonsensical pieces of bullshit floating around the dumbed down American zeitgeist, each lie aping the methodology of science and academic research, but forgetting that the only tenet to which these disciplines subscribe is the truth, not some previously held grudge masquerading as a search for “what really happened.”
And now, a group of loudmouthed cretins tries to bully their way onto a TV show and shout down the host by spreading more of their insane nonsense about the collapse of Building Seven being an inside job by the New York Fire Department working for a Jewish “conspirator.” It’s the same anti-Jewish nonsense that has permeated conspiracy communities for years and more than anything else, these untruths undermine legitimate inquiry into actual governmental misconduct, allowing liars in positions of power to brush aside legitimate questions about their activities. I know I shouldn’t be bothered by yet another group of intellectually irresponsible liars, I shouldn’t let them get to me, but watching that clip on Real Time, I just don’t know why so many Americans laugh it off or brush it aside any more. I have to say, I was proud of Bill Maher for going after them but so troubled by the fact that, with so many other issues plaguing us, this nonsense continues and worried that the further away from the actual events of September 11th we get, the more of an audience these lies will find. More disgusting to me is that someone like Alex Jones, the conspiracy monger and radio host who sells these ideas in his videos and books, is actually profiting from these lies. Only in America.
More than anything, I’m tired of the intellectual dishonesty that finds an audience in this country; People with an agenda trying to hijack the reality of our collective experience and discovery, be it the development of the theory of Natural Selection or the experience of September 11, in order to satisfy their own misunderstanding of the world around them. Really, people; Enough is enough.