What are your thoughts on all the 9/11 coverage? What do you think are the most important things for remembrances of the day and analyses of the last decade to do or not do in relation to this anniversary? Tomorrow I hope to have the time to write a few posts on a few major philosophical issues related to 9/11 and issues that have arisen from the decade of fear and war that occurred in its shadow. I am curious though in general, from a media analysis perspective, what people’s responses to the innumerable approaches to discussing the day and its aftermath are? What has struck you as valuable, as exploitative, as missing from all you have been exposed to in the media and on the internet the last week?
Without a civic religion to guide us in rituals, our secular public space has to build its own symbols, rituals, traditions, and other means of remembrance, reflection, and honoring in a more ad hoc and varying way. In many ways this is wonderful since it opens up the space for varieties of insights, expressions through a variety of forms—rather than a regimented religiously ordered set of forms which all community members no matter how different in their values or temperaments or personal modes of expression are supposed to participate in and find meaning in equally. The diversity of forms allows a diversity of meanings to express themselves and to be shaped anew in every new context by ever new means.
Yet, the possible downside of not having formal understood liturgies for things like public mourning are that with so much responsibility on individuals to creatively and sensitively work these things out for themselves, some can do it badly and offensively, while others can neglect to have any valuable meditative focus at all without being disciplined into it by the dominance of customs. And, even worse, some can take the opportunity to selfishly feel aggrieved because their religion and its pseud0-authority and pseudo-comforts are neglected. Remember folks, the real victims of 9/11 are the clergy who do not get to hog the spotlight at 9/11 memorials and propagandize their roles as the spiritual fathers of the city.
But I digress.
Back to the main question, “what has been good and bad about our culture’s means of remembering one of the most significant and transformative days in American history?”