Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Poet who beat the Twin Towers

So yesterday, when we bailed on going to the National Book Festival in D.C., we thought of many things to do instead; weather was the factor. How about a movie? Well, nothing really was out, so how about checking the one of two theaters in town that plays the more obscure stuff. At the Westhampton, we see this:

Man on Wire

This is a film every person effected by 9-11 should see.

Yeah, we have all heard about Phillipe Petit wire walking the Twin Towers in 1974 or seen the story in the back of our minds, but this film symbolically "fixes" things. Any anxiousness at the thought of being one of those people in the World Trade Center that terrible day in September is washed over with this film.

Using a combination of interviews, re-enactments and vintage footage, the film is all about how this young French poet and his crew of pranksters plot to wire walk the WTC. The buildings were barely even finished. As you see footage of it being built from a hole in lower Manhattan, you can't help feel the hole that was LEFT after the attacks. That moment, like so many others with this film, creates this weird paradox in your head. Watching Petit in the film is like watching an ocean wave. His movements, his artistic interpretations of the events that he has probably told time and again lose no impact on the viewer. Here were a bunch of artists planning to get fake IDs, ship equipment clandestinely into the building, visit the towers and case the place time and time again, not to crash planes into the buildings, but something far more creative. To string a two inch thick metal wire atop the two buildings for Petit to walk across!


So here is the thing, despite the bombers killing thousands of people in 2001 and leveling the buildings as an act of symbolism against the west, they weren't the first to "beat" the Towers.

Petit had done it decades earlier.

Symbolically speaking, here were these huge intrusive buildings, representing the tallest, biggest things on the earth, the apex of modern man being reduced by a balancing performer, this "poet" of the wire who merely danced above it for 45 minutes, laughing with the seagulls and grinning at the police officers waiting to arrest him when he was finished.

Go see this movie. It has a very therapeutic effect. It's funny, intense and has a kind of emotional charge that means more than any religious or patriotic fervor could hope to induce. In a lot of ways it's what we need in this world of hate, murder and despair; artists. Whether it be painters, poets, musicians --it doesn't matter-- because the artist wins every time in the end.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Celebrating" September 11th

It still makes me sick to my stomach to relive that day. But in a weird way it is good to remember that day. I was horrified, angry, sad, disgusted, so many emotions at once, connected to something, someplace I had no connection to. New York City, the World Trade Center, the Middle East, Terrorism, was just a distant place/thing/idea to me. When the shit hit the fan, it became an epiphany, a realization that the U.S. policies and attitude is not exactly loved by everyone in the world. Our modern days of "splendid isolationism", perhaps still in the back of our collective American minds riding on the coattails of saving Europe from Hitler so long ago, were over. You can only ride so long as a superpower.

That whole day I had the urge to go get my kid out of school and just go home and wait for the other shoe to drop. I felt sorrow for the victims and their families. The horror of the "jumpers" - ones that made the desperate decision to fall to their death rather than burn to death- imagining having to make that decision for myself if it were me. *stomach churns* I imagined what people in other countries that have to worry about car bombs daily have to go through every time they see their kid try to get to school. Subways, commuter trains, buses. We are living like the rest of the world now, but with a bigger target on our backs.

Then anger. Find those fuckers that did this. GET THEM.

And then the President W happened.

More anger as we blindly followed the Piper to Iraq, I saw it happening, everyone did. The deception, the lies, the feeding of our residual anger and blood-thirsty craving for justice to be done. We just let it happen.

Then he was reelected.

Shame, embarrassed to have a President like this. Even more embarrassed for our nation of fools that kept him in office. More anger, despair; this is our country?

So, 7 years later...
Here are the murderers:

Here are the victims:

This is what is effected by our actions since:

Global economy, global consequences. Where are we today? The memories of those people that perished that day haunt our American psyche, even though we still shop, buy, continue to be distracted with our daily lives. Think about it, think about that day, then think if our policies have changed in the world for the better? I know, all those things are still things we have no connection to. It's just a distant place/thing/idea to us. Kind of like New York City, the World Trade Center, the Middle East, Terrorism, everywhere. Business as usual. Everything but for the here and now.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Last day of The Braves

Sad, but true. 42 years. Last year they won the Governor's Cup. We had good seats and a good time, they won 9 to 3 against Norfolk Tides! Cool double steal, two over the fence homers, and a packed Diamond with over 12 thousand!
Let's hope we get another team soon.

Listening: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Dig Lazarus Dig!!!

Reading: Lone Wolf & Cub graphic novel