Summer with its siren song lured me away for the last couple of months. But my dander is up again and I'm back to take the Register (and other Idiotarian mouthpieces) to task and generally stir up trouble.
Scary Pictures/Hurt Feelings
took Glenn Reynolds to task for posting the "Falling Man" picture on Instapundit for a time on Thursday. This is what got my dander up and my writing juices flowing again.
I responded in the comments section on his site with a polite Fisking:
”I never said anything like "it's awful and nobody can condone terrorism, but..." And I don't believe that.”
”I never said anything like "it's time to move on." And I don't believe that.”
I never said anything like "we don't need a news retrospective about 9/11." And I don't
”I never said anything like "9/11 doesn't matter." And I don't believe that.”
I never said that the event that galvanized our war on terror "doesn't count as much as Princess Di, or Laci, or Kobe." And I don't believe that.
”What I said was that Glenn Reynolds made an error in editorial judgment when he chose to put a photograph of a WTC jumper atop his enormously popular and widely read blog "Instapundit."”
“ I said that some people have worked to avoid exposure to those photos, and that as unsuspecting Instapundit readers who are familiar with its ordinary tone and content, these people could not reasonably expect to have this graphic image greet them when they click their way to his site. “
Okay Eric, here’s where I start having a bit of a problem. You seem to imply that Glenn (he of the “Rover Smoothie”) has violated the public trust and scared the children.
I have been reading Mr. Reynold’s blog for over a year and I have never seen him shy away from any topic. His tone is blunt and opinionated. The imagery, albeit with the power of the written word has been graphic and not for the faint of heart.
“I think that's a big mistake in editorial judgment for a widely read, general-interest blog like Instapundit.”
That is your opinion, and you have a right to take a hiatus from Instapundit… or for that matter never visit http://www.instapundit.com ever again.
”It has been fascinating to me how quickly some (or, if the comments on this blog accurately reflect all readers' opinions, most) readers took a comment about editorial judgment at a blog and treated it as a statement against the war on terror, or as a denigration of the real suffering of that horrible day.”
No, I’m worried that the collective memory of the nation is being dulled by the media in an effort to “civilize” our nation, currently the pointy end of western tradition of liberalism, and pacify us at a time when passivity is slow, almost sure suicide.
”Why is that? I post a comment about a blogger's editorial judgment in posting a particular photograph, and instantly become a lightning rod for people's displaced rage (or is it their fears?) about what they perceive to be American society's fading memory of 9/11 and its wavering commitment to some particular policy response to the threat of terrorism. They attribute to me all sorts of positions about the war on terror and about the general question of 9/11's legacy. (Just read the comments.)”
What exactly ARE your views on the war on terror? I’ve just discovered your Blog (and indeed it was through the Instapundit link). I’ve read a few articles. I’ve not hit any that comment directly on the war. However… what I have read leads me to believe that you’re not a big fan.
”And yet it's *my* psyche that needs checking?”
I would never comment on your psyche… just your stated opinions in your blog.
”There is a fascinating, but unarticulated, assumption underlying many of the comments responding to my initial post, and it's an assumption about what a healthy human being's "correct" baseline should be for discussing and processing the horrors of 9/11. The assumption is that a proper processing of the horror of 9/11 must be accomplished *visually*, through exposure to photographs of the extremity of the physical trauma at its absolute height.”
Yes, I’m afraid so. This is WHAT HAPPENED. This is how horrible it was. In fact, it was much worse. The picture that Mr. Reynolds chose is somehow horrifying and at the same time elegant. Now… if you really want to viscera ripper, try the videos. The videos are truly terrifying. Mr. Reynolds did not imbed an mpeg of a person falling over and over again. He showed a picture. A picture cannot hurt anyone.
”Where is it written that that is how all people are supposed to engage the horror of 9/11? That graphic pictures are essential to properly comprehending that horror? That a human being who chooses to engage that horror through other means is hypersensitive, weak, shelter-seeking, or (as my favorite comment put it) "lacks balls?"”
This is not about cojones… it’s about having the strength to look at the truth. It hurts. It’s supposed to. It’s supposed to move us. It’s limbic. They killed my people. They want to kill more of us. Hell, if we don’t submit to their all powerful deity who has revealed truth and codified law about everything in human behavior from how to treat women to how to wipe your butt (how many stones is it…?), these people want us dead.
“That, friends, is a load of macho crap. A big load. A lot of it is coming from women, but it's still just machismo. I'm not buying it.”
Nonsense. Not machismo… adulthood. Hey, Johnny’s had his arm taken off in the thresher! Put a tourniquet around the stump. Get his arm. Put it on ice and let’s get to the hospital. Or… cry and wonder why it happened and let Johnny bleed to death. Yes, this is dramatic and something of a simplification. But, I would submit to you it’s the same kind of human behavior. Look hard. Deal with the facts. Weigh them. Act.
”I read a lot of poems yesterday, and I read some narratives about victims. I looked at some pictures of various moments of that day: Andrew Card informing President Bush in the school classroom, people running away from the debris cloud, people stunned and sobbing in the streets. I didn't look at a lot of pictures or films of the airplane impacts, or of the building collapses, or of the jumpers.”
I’m going to guess it wasn’t Kipling. Seriously… I don’t need to know anything about the victims to know that they were human beings, important to their loved ones. Indeed, in reality, that’s not important to the task at hand. It’s enough that they were innocent, hard-working people… on our soil… on our watch.
Eric, I don’t need to see how others, even those who were there, reacted to the event to know how to feel and what to do. I saw it through the magic of television and I reacted myself.
“Oh, and I also went and read some news stuff in various places about developing antiterrorism policy. You know, the kind of stuff that one usually finds on Instapundit. The kind of stuff I (quite consistently with reasonable expectations) went there looking for, when I instead had a photo of a WTC jumper stuffed in my face.”
Heaven forefend… you were taking your carefully cultivated and edited stroll down the 9/11 memory land and jeez!!! What the hell’s that!!!??? A man falling to his death from the WTC…??? Sorry Eric, as has been repeated in this forum ad nauseum, get over it. What don’t you understand? It’s supposed to hurt. You’re supposed to identify with that man.
”TV and newspaper ("big media," that is) understand this about human beings, I think. Generally, they well understand (maybe just because they have to sell papers and advertisements) that their readership is a diverse group of human beings with varying sensitivities and varying ways of engaging with, and processing, disturbing information.”
Big Media understands quite a bit about human beings. About that you are quite correct. World News Tonight… brought to you by Soma… the drink that makes you feel… well… GOOD!
”The very last comment to my original post (as of now, anyway) says this to me: "If you can't look at this poor, desperate man in the last moments of his life, then do not look with reproval at the person that posted it, look to your own lack of courage."”
”Saying that a responsible journalist gives his reader a choice about whether or not to view a man plummeting to his death is . . . cowardice.”
”See what I mean?”
No… actually I don’t. I do not understand your reaction at all. Not cowardice, that implies real, tangible danger. I’d call it squeamishness.