Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years after

Today, out of respect for the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, I am taking a brief break from my cosmic potshots. I guess I don’t really feel like trying to be funny today. But rest assured I’ll be back tomorrow, or the day after, in full Cosmic Connie mode.

Since we in the Western world have a tendency to break our history down into decades, and therefore into half-decades, this anniversary is a particularly significant one, and people all over the world will be observing it in special ways. Most will be mourning, though some, unfortunately, will be celebrating.

It comes as no surprise that politicians are exploiting the heck out of this anniversary, a notable example of such exploitation being the partisan ABC "docudrama," The Path to 9/11, the first part of which aired last night. (I found it noteworthy that the show was presented with "few commercial breaks," when most movies on network TV are interrupted every three minutes with five minutes of commercials.) Although the version that we saw was edited and toned down, perhaps due to protest from the Democrats – though ABC apparently will not comment on that – the show still seemed to clearly communicate the idea that the 9/11 attacks were the fault of the Clinton administration. At least that’s the impression I got. Specifically, the message seemed to be that the attacks happened in part because President Clinton was so distracted with lying about getting blow jobs from a White House intern that he couldn’t focus on the obvious threat posed by bin Laden and his minions. The larger message was that he was just too wimpy to give the order to kill bin Laden.

Call me intolerant of the other side’s p.o.v., but I quit watching shortly after the totally gratuitous scene showing the two guys sitting in the limo watching Clinton’s "I did not have sex with that woman" statement on TV.

An email I received from Moveon.org a few days ago stated, "It's not just that ABC's movie is slanted. Big parts of it are simply untrue. The producer himself even admitted to simply improvising a key scene which depicts the Clinton administration letting bin Laden go when they had him in their sights—a complete fabrication." Furthermore, "….the movie's star, Harvey Keitel, said ‘It turned out not all the facts were correct.’" (Here's an interesting blog with more information.)

In all fairness, let me add that I am well aware 9/11 has been exploited – and distorted – by the "other side" too, a notable example being Michael Moore’s infamous Fahrenheit 9/11. I actually enjoyed that one, although I recognize Moore’s blatant agenda, and am aware that the film contains inaccuracies. However, the scene with W reading from My Pet Goat was priceless…

The 9/11 anniversary is also being exploited by the giants of the self-help industry (although in the case of the linked site, you have to register or log in for the privilege of seeing what Himself has to say about 9/11 and related matters of consequence). Not surprisingly, the new-age / metaphysical folks have their own take on it too. 9/11 was all part of some great karmic pattern, and/or it was indicative of the galactic shift, and/or it happened because we arrogant humans did not listen to what Archangel Michael, Saint Germain or Nostradamus had to say. Naturally, many contemporary healers and seers saw 9/11 coming, but no one would listen to them. Maybe if you buy some of their products, you can help prevent another 9/11 or something worse. The Bible thumpers, too, have their own spin, mostly having to do with the End Times.

I heard on TV that the "official" song for the worldwide commemorations today is the Beatles classic "All You Need Is Love." That’s a fine sentiment to be sure, but I think a far better choice would have been "Imagine," though of course the implications regarding a world government would make some folks nervous.* I remember the song that was going through my head all day on September 11, 2001. It was Leonard Cohen’s "The Future," the title song of the 1992 album that I think is his best. I read in a 1991 interview with Cohen that the original title of the song, which he began writing around the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet empire, was, "If You Could See What’s Coming Next." The opening lines were, "If you could see what’s coming next / if you could read the hidden text…" That was scrapped in the final, but these lines remained: "Give me back the Berlin Wall / Give me Stalin and Saint Paul / I’ve seen the future, brother; it is murder."** The message of the song was that someday soon we'd all be longing for the relative simplicity of the "good old days" of the Cold War.

Unlike Cohen – or, for that matter, the cosmic seers and healers I cited above – I haven’t seen the future, but I have a sinking feeling that the future is now and I am just afraid to look. I may feel differently tomorrow, but I can’t say for sure today. The endless public expressions of mourning aside, and notwithstanding the crass efforts of some to exploit 9/11 for financial gain, we have all been profoundly affected in some way by 9/11. Even if, as some have argued, the attacks did not change the world, they almost certainly changed many people's perception of the world. And that is potentially a foundation for real change, maybe even for the better, although I am not too optimistic at this point.

It’s a pretty safe prediction that we will all be talking or writing or singing about September 11, 2001, for years to come. Meanwhile, if you want some serious discussion about the significance of 9/11 – discussion that goes beyond political bickering and finger pointing – check out today’s post on Steve Salerno’s SHAM blog.

* My own personal favorite Beatles song, and the official Beatles song for this blog, is "Across The Universe." Jai Guru Deva om! Or, perhaps more appropriate to one of the points I danced around on this post: "Nothing's going to change my world."

** © 1992 by Leonard Cohen Stranger Music, BMI. Here are the complete lyrics. Granted, this song is a bit "End-Timey" too (one critic described Cohen as "the hoarse man of the Apocalypse"), but, for some odd reason, I can tolerate apocalyptic musings from a Buddhist Jew much better than I can from a Christian fundamentalist.
The song that Cohen actually wrote for 9/11, "On That Day," which appeared on his album Dear Heather, was kind of a cop-out, IMO. It started out provocatively and then he just cut it off…

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