•One sequence of events that history will surely record should have gone very differently is the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, which remains — despite lots of talk and lots of money — a hole in the ground. With so much riding, symbolically, on civilization proving that terrorists can’t deal us permanent setbacks, this remains a colossal failure, eight years on.
•Read Schuchardt wrote, back in 2001, that he and friends saw the Towers collapse from a rooftop in Jersey City, and one of his friends said, approximately: Well, the twenty-first century was getting boring anyway. That understandably struck Read as offensive at the time but now seems so surreal, I’m almost glad the utterance occurred, almost as if one were present when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot and had the prescience to say, “This is going to be big, big trouble, you mark my words.” A veritable Neil Armstrong moment.
•As two examples of how very differently people react to the menace of Islamic terrorism, neither manifestly wrong, check out (a) this perhaps ill-advised Devo side project, Jihad Jerry and the Evildoers, and (when you’re done chuckling at our fear of the Other) (b) this far more earnest lament over the extermination of gays in Iran.
•And as a reminder that life goes on: September 11 brings not only Patriot Day remembrances but also the release at long last of Whiteout (seen here in a slightly scratchy-sounding clip of the trailer), the movie with Kate Beckinsale as a cop in Antarctica (based on a comic by Greg Rucka). There is an indirect connection between the film and Muslim radicalism besides its release date, too: The director’s prior biggest claim to fame is probably Janet Jackson’s Nation of Islam-influenced “Rhythm Nation” video, which remains my favorite synchronized-dance video, for whatever that’s worth.
And now, in a reminder of another national tragedy, she’s the most talented living Jackson.