BY STEVE POPPER
When the bus reached the George Washington Bridge carrying the Mets back from Pittsburgh the conversation stopped, players crowding onto one side of the bus to stare silently at what they saw in the distance.
The smoke and spotlights. And there was an acrid smell in the air.
Mike Piazza’s home run is something I remember, even though I wasn’t a baseball fan at the time. This was my first season where I will identify as a Baseball Fan, so, you know. The role that entertainment and sports had, for a lot of people, in dealing is… Again something I cannot look at critically. It is what it is. (I think back to SNL, Lorne Michaels asking Giuliani, “can we be funny?” And his response, “Why start now?”)
I was home watching the Mets/Phillies game the day Osama Bin Laden was killed, which I wrote about at the time, and I was aware of the connection between that and Piazza’s home run. And I was aware of the fucked upness of the U-S-A chanting, but it was interesting to watch on tv, the way people learned from phones, texts… I cannot disengage, cannot be critical. I just found it interesting… it’s something I am acutely aware of everytime I check twitter when I am AT a baseball game… it is this space where you are away from everything but the balls and bats and beer and baseball but real life keeps happening outside.
So I cannot look at it critically and I cannot look at it “intelligently” but like. IDK, I just wanted to reblog this because I love NYC and I love the Mets and I can never articulate that love adequately, so I keep trying, too many words and not enough meaning.
Anyway, I’d just like to say, in case it wasn’t obvious already, that this is what my tumblr will be like a bit. I don’t know how else to be. I can ignore it I can think about it it all feels wrong. I feel so far away from it all. That’s…good? I don’t even know. So I mean I apologize and hope y’all are enjoying scrolling past all I keep writing because I really don’t expect it to be read.
[Trigger warning for PRETTY FUCKING DETAILED discussion of September 11th; probably other things I am not adequately identifying (but tell me what and I will warn for it, and I apologize in advance)]
I don’t somuch care if i am an awful person for celebrating the death of an awful person.
his death doesn’t change anything.
I wouldn’t even say I am happy about it; I am just existing…
But all the “it feels wrong to celebrate, I am ashamed to see people celebrate, this…
I replied, but it wasn’t long enough to say what I wanted to say. So I’ll say it here. On one hand, celebrating anyone’s death is gauche, distasteful, and disrespectful to human life. On the other hand, denying anyone who had someone they cared about die in the 9/11 attacks any small comfort they can gain from this man’s death doesn’t sit right with me, either. Osama Bin Laden was a terrorist. He was an awful man who did awful things to good people. However, I think we need to straddle the line between remembering that he was a human being, too, and remembering that he was a mass murderer.
What do you think, @thouartnotwitty?
I don’t know. I speak as someone who was lucky to not lose anybody. But I was absolutely affected… i used to think I could not claim this as my own thing to have feelings over, but when i see the different reaction i have than non-nyers… I was lucky for someone HERE, yeah. So lucky, and I am so grateful for that. But I still look up each time i hear a low flying plane, and I’ve learned that that is not “normal.”
And then… I am anti-war. In theory. It sounds nice. But? there is not a day of it that I have been against the war in Afghanistan. (There’s not a day of it that I’ve been FOR the war in Iraq,). I remember hearing it had started and feeling good and that was October 2001 and I was 11 and my whole city felt WRONG and that was the first moment things felt right. Problematic? Probably. But I was 11 and my city was broken.
And then, there are people still saying that we as a country bear some responsibility for September 11th, and I see it on my newsfeed, on my dash. And I can’t, i just can’t, tell you how much that hurts. It really hurts and I want to kick people, when I hear that. And you know what? I do not care if that makes me a dumb privileged western white girl. I just don’t.
Because within minutes of getting to school late that day, the entire day was sirens, sirens, sirens. I cannot recreate even in my mind the sounds of sirens that just didnt end. And this was on the fourth floor of a school building, big old solid windows. Because we kept asking “why so many sirens?” and no one would answer, no one knew, and one by one people got called into the office for phonecalls or to leave early. Because at recess, at which point we mostly knew what was happening, the girls in eighth grade were crying. Because I watched the news in a class with only 4 people left on a tiny portable TV and wondered if my uncle was still alive. (because my uncle still has, or at least recently still had, the suit he wore that day, covered in debris, in a plastic bag in the closet) Because in the 10 block walk from school to work with my dad, there were fighter planes in the sky and military with guns just standing on the street. Because I sat at work with my dad for hours, people, grownups, looking petrified as they came in for bikes cuz there was no other way home. Because we rode home that night. Because we ran into a guy my dad knew who insisted on wearing an air-filter-mask something. Because everyone stopped at the center of the bridge to look at the lack of something in the skyline for the first time for the next decade. Because everyone stopped to look at the smoke rising, twelve hours later. Because the sky smelled like smoke for the next I don’t-remember-how-long. Because every time I try to write or talk about that day it becomes this.
Because all of this is true and I still had a pretty “lucky” or “positive” experience of september 11th, for most people in this city. Because I didn’t have it that bad. I want to kick you when you start saying “but the US’s actions and impearlism and holds some responsibility” AND suck my dick, I was 11. Growing up in the USA might protect most people from knowing what war feels like firsthand, and yes we are privileged in that way. But I watched my home smell like smoke for days, I saw the “Missing” posters up everywhere for people who were dead, I lived through those hours where planes weren’t grounded and we didn’t know what else might happen, where we heard speculation that the UN, even closer to us than the WTC, was next.
I will not apologize for feeling some sense of comfort in Bin Laden’s death. I know that it doesn’t mean much, doesn’t change much. But I take some comfort in it. He’s become a figurehead, and as wrong as that is, yes, killing the figurehead accomplishes something.
I do not blame those chanting “USA” and singing God Bless America. It might not be what I would do, but I understand where those feelings come from. What do you do when the assassination of a symbol ends this vague, not real era? How do you process it? How do you process an even that is simultaneously monumental and inconsequential? why should everything be processed? I think I’d be a lot happier now if I had gone down to the WTC and cheered, i think I’d feel a lot more closed and certain of my feelings.
I am relieved, I guess. Proud that we finally did it. YES, proud. YES, we. Problematic? Probably.(This is my new Tumblr title)
Instead I stayed home, watched extra innings after the President’s speech, and saw the first team to host a home game after September 11th win a game. (LGM.). Tried not to think, or process. Couldn’t. This had happened and I was going to watch goddamn baseball.
Watching baseball was my blind chanting of USA and singing of songs of blind patriotism. We all process differently, we all have different emotions and feelings and experiences of September 11th, of the aftermath. And so we all have different feelings about Bin Laden’s death. If you want to find people being happy about a man’s death disgusting? Go ahead. But to say that that dehumanizes him? I’m sorry. I think he did that himself. Is being happy a person is dead disgusting? Maybe. But I found his life disgusting, and at the very least, the absence of his life is, then… undisgusting? Comforting? Calming? It’s SOMETHING.