One would hope this would be the last of ‘these’; one would be a fool.

Writing a post about the World Trade Center is appallingly easy, a gross natural resource of failure, seemingly malicious incompetence, an almost perverse effort by all those involved to identify perhaps the best — should we even admit just qualifiers — possible path, so that when they upend it and crawl inexorably down its inverse, we can be certain they are doing the worst possible job.

As a writer, it’s handy. It even provides an uncomfortably glee, the opportunity to conjure your most withering ire — the bon mot realized too late at a cocktail party, that particularly egregious episode of getting dumped, the quarter-long festering of hatred for a thesis advisor who had you by the short hairs and was making you write them a tenure recommendation — gather all that anger up and just start slapping one of any number of public figure names to whatever comes to mind:

Want remind everyone that Pataki was at best only a coat carrier? People applaud! Silverstein a heartless sot who wants to clamber over the graves of 2,000 people to prop up a futile edifice of immortality? Spot on, friend. Kevin Rampe a duplicitous macher concerned most with his next paycheck? Fine! Any one of them bordering on criminal? Likely true! I can’t even imagine what we would call that guy who actually designed the memorial. What was his name again?

So, yeah, there’s a regressive level of poisonous irony in the fact that writing angry screed about the abysmal pace of progress at the WTC site is in an of itself an act that wallows in the same filthy pile of almost unwatchable failings of humanism. Perhaps Dr. Phil could have a big Pop Psychology-In and figure out just when everyone involved has hit rock bottom (given the state of construction, it looks like we are a ways off). The sage advice would be to know leave your wallet unattended while they are around, but it’s too late for that: they don’t need your permission to take a dip now and again. And again, and again.

Marching right along with this bounty of ineptitude and wellspring of deadlines hastily assembled and just as quickly dismantled is an impressive body of treacly recollection. Maybe there is a fear that once the last bolt has been screwed into place such writing will be looked on as unseemly, and in a town where no one’s suffering is as acute or important as that split all over the back pages of the Sunday Times Magazine that would be viewed as a tragedy to which everyone could truly relate. After all, think of all those poor Dalton students just itching to put their 9/11 experience into a college application essay. Who will think of those children?

As I write this, the Tribute in Light is still aglow. The only response that evinced the least bit of elegance, now they stand like uncomfortable guests. What they say is still simple and direct, and their specificity to place admits any range of emotion. The worst is being reminded that from where they spring is a hollow that seems to regress in painful small steps. This is perhaps the finest example of what a memorial does, reminding that tragedy is not a neatly comestible nugget, and our continued complicity in belaboring the failure of imagination and wherewithal that marks every project there also besmirches even the most strident critique. Silence is the terminus, and still deafeningly inadequate.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Archives