Let's Hurl

« May 2006 »

Memo to the 93-Worshippers: YOU ARE DUMB.

Once again, I find myself in the position of not minding a thing, but being violently opposed to the reaction to that thing. Unlike the ubiquitously-quoted theater-goer, I don't think it's "too soon" for the movie "United 93". Too soon implies the existence of a time when a United 93 movie is a good idea.

I'm not even saying it's a bad idea. I'm just saying that the most lovingly crafted, exquisitely careful movie anyone could make about Flight 93 (and it appears that "United 93" is such a beast) can aspire, at best, to avoid being awful. All the research in the world won't change the fact that what happened up there is a mostly-impenetrable mystery, and thus any reconstruction of those events has no choice but to be false.

And it's fiction, which means it's OK that it's false. But that doesn't make it USEFULLY false. The thing about Flight 93 is that people come out of it and think they've gained insight into the events of that day and the effect on the world at large. And they haven't. All they have is a foggy jumble of their own preconceptions, mixed with the past four years of 9/11 mythmaking.

Think of the movie like tequila. Drink all you want, but when you're done, don't talk to me about it, because all I'm going to hear is slurring and puking. Especially if you were a dick to begin with. But Gerard Van der Leun, of American Digest, says it better than I ever could, albeit accidentally. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"'United 93,' from the first frame to the last, simply and clearly lets you see what happened high in the air on that day. It is, as the phrase on the poster says, 'The plane that did not reach its target.' Instead, it reached something unintended and much higher. It became and will remain a legend; an integral part of the tapestry of the American myth from which we all draw what strength remains to us, and, in the future, will surely need to draw upon even more deeply. Like the best of our legends, it arises out of our ordinary people doing extraordinary things."

See, this is precisely what I'm getting at. The flight is myth. The movie is myth. And myths are powerful, but they're not true. That's why they call them myths. The movie does not actually let you see what happened high in the air on that day. Van der Leun came out of that movie with the desire to pen pachydermic piles of purple patriotic prose. But he went in with it, too. And Van der Leun tried in vain to stay "above the fray", as it were. The people one step down the emotional food chain - touched by his words after being touched by the movie, fared even worse.

"Great essay. It reminds me for some reason of the scene in 'An Innocent Man', where Tom Selleck's character must confront, and ultimately kill, a black inmate that has decided to make Selleck 'his bitch'. - Terry Ennis.

For the record, let it be known that the events of 9/11 make Terry Ennis think of Tom Selleck and anal sex. See what I mean about the dangers of individual preconceptions?

"We are all even now as the passengers on United flight 93. Our souls have been 'set upon' by an implacable enemy. Would to God we had leaders that could bring out of us the same courage and determination that was on grand display by those brave souls spent that day above the skies of Pennsylvania. The last thing we need to hear is 'go on living your lives as though nothing had happened.' A clarion call needs to go out across the land. A call to action. A call to sacrifice. We need to be told loudly and frequently that everything is at risk. Now is the time. This is the place. Stand up and be counted. By God, "lock and load". - John Hinds

Oh, shut your Twinkie-hole, you wannabe crusader. Here's a new rule. Nobody who says "lock and load" should ever be allowed to lock or load. People whose job it is to lock and load can come up with some kind of alternate phrasing if necessary. You ARE being told loudly and frequently that everything is at risk, douchebag. But they're talking about global warming. And all the locking and loading and bravado in the world won't help you breathe underwater.

So, you know. See the movie. Or don't. I don't care either way. But when you come out of that theater, don't try to tell me that what you saw was a fucking documentary. It wasn't. It was maybe one step up the truth ladder from Batman, and that's only because planes exist and the Batmobile doesn't. I'm sure that the next time you walk into 7-11 for a fucking Slurpee, you'll do so with your head held high and the "Let's roll" quote echoing in your skull, but that doesn't make you special. It just makes you one more camo-wearing jackass ahead of me in line.