September 04, 2007
"when is enough enough?"
Actually, I'm having a hell of a time finding what I guess has to be called a news report with that headline. It's on page two of the Philadelphia Inquirer, but (surprise!) it does not appear at the Inquirer's web site, but it carries the New York Times byline.
So why can't I find "When is enough enough?" In despair, I googled the first sentence of the story -- "Again it comes, for the sixth time now, falling for the first time on a Tuesday, the same day of the week." Sure enough, that made the story appear. Not in the Inky (which for contractual reasons is probably allowed to run the Times stories in print but not on its website), but in the Times (and others). Only, the Inquirer has changed the headline from the original, "As 9/11 Draws Near, a Debate Rises: How Much Tribute Is Enough?" Here's the second sentence:
Again there will be the public tributes, the tightly scripted memorial events, the reflex news coverage, the souvenir peddlers.And the third, which combines another rhetorical question with repetition:
Is all of it necessary, at the same decibel level -- still?And we finally come to the real issue. Americans are suffering, not from being at war, but from a thing called "9/11 fatigue." It's "annoying."
Each year, murmuring about Sept. 11 fatigue arises, a weariness of reliving a day that everyone wishes had never happened. It began before the first anniversary of the terrorist attack. By now, though, many people feel that the collective commemorations, publicly staged, are excessive and vacant, even annoying.Grieving? Is that all it's about? Why a nurse? This was an act of war, wasn't it?
9/11 is said to be "complicated" by "contours" -- especially because presidential candidates still refer to it:
Sept. 11, of course, remains complicated by its unfinished contours -- continuing worry over terrorism, the war in Iraq, a presidential race in which candidates repeatedly invoke the day and its portents. Episodes like the fire at the vacant Deutsche Bank building stir up haunting memories. Books rooted in the attack continue to arrive.It's nice to know that terrorism has been reduced to a mere "worry." And the only reason the word "war" comes up is because we're still in Bush's silly war in Iraq. Why, if only we got rid of that, we'd be able to forget about everything, and relegate 9/11 to the status of a tornado or a bridge collapse:
Some people are troubled by what they see as others' taking advantage of the event. "Six years later, we can see that a lot of people have used 9/11 for some gain," said Matt Brosseau, 27, of Westfield, N.J. He sees the public tributes as "crassly corporatized and co-opted by false patriots."I think these folks have touched on what may be the chief concern -- that regardless of whether enough is enough this year, we've simply got to establish for once and for all that enough will be enough in advance of next year. 9/11/08 is just too close to the election. You just can't have people thinking along the lines of "we will remember in November."
Or am I being unfair to the Times? Shouldn't I be giving them the benefit of the doubt here? Maybe they think it's a pain in the ass to dwell on what they consider old news year after year, so they're churning the waters a little in an attempt to get people to think. But asking solid rhetorical questions like "How Much Is Enough?" and by announcing that there's a "debate" based on a few quotes, might they be trying to "encourage critical thinking"?
Why is it that the Times just can't seem to get enough of Lady Di? And why no articles asking when enough is enough? Might it be that the issue is not so much when enough is enough, but when the Times says it's enough?
Mental health practitioners see a certain value in the growing fatigue.Of course, Dr. Figley is only talking about the 9/11 civilian victims who died in in the most horrific enemy attack ever inflicted on American soil -- by an enemy with whom we're still at war. (As opposed to Lady Di.) Obviously, Americans can't be expected to get over everything.
I can't help noting parenthetically that Dr. Figley is an expert on "Compassion Fatigue" and he has authored a book titled "Compassion Fatigue in the Animal-Care Community." I haven't read the book, so I'm sure I'm oversimplifying, but I hope he assigns at least as much value to 9/11 fatigue as he does to the fatigue of animal care workers.
Certainly, there's no denying that there is such a thing as "compassion fatigue" in rescue workers and trauma specialists. But is that the same thing as the anger experienced by Americans who saw their country attacked on 9/11? Sure, there was plenty of compassion for the victims, but wasn't there more than that?
What about the desire to make sure that 9/11 never happens again? What about defeating the people who did it, so that they cannot do it again? Compassion for the victims, while certainly a factor, is hardly dispositive. In this respect, the Times' focus on "compassion" is seriously misplaced.
There may be "fatigue" in the minds of those the Times quotes, but I don't think it's compassion related.
We're in a war, right?
Yeah, I keep asking.
Is there such a syndrome as "War Denial Fatigue"? Or would it be Pacifist Fatigue?
Well, what would you call the condition of being sick of pacifists who refuse to accept that their country was attacked and that the enemy has not yet been defeated?
I'm being sarcastic, of course, as I don't believe in any such "disease." The problem is, the people I'm sick of would probably diagnose me as sick. (So perhaps the best defensive diagnosis is an offensive diagnosis.)
The photo of the morning comes from reader John M., who e-mailed: "I am sending you a picture of graffiti that was photographed in Sacramento California on the I 80 on-ramp heading east to Reno. It first read "Stop the War." Someone did what I wanted to do and crossed out the stop and added 'Win' in front."Depends on whose fatigue is more indefatigable!
UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link and a warm welcome to all. Comments always appreciated.
posted by Eric on 09.04.07 at 09:11 AM
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