It seems like there are more people remembering 9/11 to-day, the 2001 terrorist attack, than most years. It could be my imagination. It's the 18 year anniversary so maybe people are becoming conscious of the fact that more and more young adults have no real memory of the attack, certainly no real memories of life in the U.S. before the attacks. In the years since, references to how the attacks changed the country and the world in terms of discourse and policy have been plentiful in media. Though for the more profound changes, it's hard to measure without having insight into an alternate dimension when the attacks didn't occur.
I still clearly remember the day. The most immediate effect of hearing about what was happening to the World Trade Centre was the feeling that it could happen anywhere else in the U.S. too, at least for me. I drove to the mall, my favourite refuge for all life's smaller catastrophes, and I read William S. Burroughs' Last Words
in the food court before they finally closed the mall, an hour before the stores opened. It does seem strange that there hasn't been another such attack. U.S. retaliation was probably part of it but mainly I suspect the whole experience made it clear how counterproductive it was for al-Qaeda. Not to say that al-Qaeda's ideology is flexible enough to budge on the issue. But I think most people instinctively realise that you can't build on destruction alone, however extreme said destruction is. I'm inclined not to think the Manson Family would've expanded much after the murders.
Some would say Burroughs was clearly wrong now that we live in the world of strong man populists. Maybe Putin is like that. As far as Trump goes I'm in the camp that thinks he's mainly a façade. I don't think he's secretly brilliant, I think he's basically doing The Howard Stern Show
, a kind of method comedy where he deliberately plays up foolishness in himself. A lot of commentators have called Trump a "Postmodern President" and I think that's dead accurate. I've heard it said that Islamic terrorists are often motivated to attack the west because of, essentially, postmodernism, an erosion of sincere belief and meaning. But on the other hand, I wonder if it really seems like there's any point in attacking something without substance. One argument against mounting an attack on terrorism was that you really couldn't identify a target in the way you could when fighting against a country. Is there really a physical target for the problem Trump represents? In any case, I think he perfectly represents what Burroughs was talking about in the above clip.Twitter Sonnet #1276A group of four ascend the carded hill.
About the hands, there works a comb of wind.
In creaky words there spoke an ancient mill.
In lingual strata hearts attempt to mend.
An oil placed the road beyond the ball.
A row of softened stones betray the path.
In running piles shades ascend the wall.
A crumpled foil feigns a sunny wrath.
Communities begin in buried eggs.
A peat combined with root and moss and grass.
The hardened mud encased the runner's legs.
The land became a green and fertile mass.
Another night replaced a semblance wrong.
To-morrow's dreams of sleep became the dawn.