Saturday, May 09, 2009

Why Are We Waiting? We Could Be Masturbating.

I was checking out a list of visitors to this site and was struck by two similar IP addresses spotted in close proximity.

Dept. of Homeland Security

I have always been area code vain. This made me wonder if 204 was a good address or not. Cryptome had opened my eyes to seeing these things as ranges, and I wondered if I would recognize any interesting patterns, so I checked my (limited) list and came up with this:

Caci Inc. Federal
Lockheed Missiles & Space Co.
McGraw Comment
NC Research & Education Center
New York State Assembly
Paramount Pictures
Pfizer Inc
Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans
Suffolk County Dept. of Social Services
The Department of Defense Education
University Of Phoenix
WGBH Educational Foundation

The McGraw wasn't McGraw Hill, just a nobody who left me a message.

Extracting out this pattern left me feeling all of governed, medicated, educated, entertained, irrigated, and, yes, rather protected---oh, I mustn't forget, heard. Isn't that why anyone would want to recognize a pattern in the first place?

On Edit: Thin. Too thin. I'll tack this on down here to beef it up.

I got a sample taste on Google Books of Running Toward Danger by Cathy Trost, Alicia C. Shepard, Newseum, Tom Brokaw, the compendium of journalistic 9/11 struggle and sacrifice. It's pretty good. I lot of these guys feel like old friends to me now.

The title made me think of Running with Scissors.

Nothing to really write home about though. A couple of names I'd never heard of before at the Pentagon that I could add to my list. I found it interesting that Shannon Stapleton says he was also with James Nachwey at the crucial period after the first building fell. Thomas Franklin says he was traveling with Nachwey too that day. It'll be interesting to lump all three in an archive and see if any logical inconsistencies in the story show up. Whoopie! Then what?

And who were Rowman & Littlefield Publishers I wondered? So I checked them out and spotted this: The Chickenhawk Syndrome: War, Sacrifice, and Personal Responsibility by somebody named Cheyney C. Ryan, and I laughed, and knew, that whatever, God is at work.

I'll say...look how subtle and brilliant people are getting. Here's a blurb from the dust jacket:
"Great events bring out the best in people. This is a marvelous sampling of how outstanding journalists responded to the tragedy of September 11."
David S. Broder Political Correspondent The Washington Post

Broder gives great blurb without really saying anything. But you can tell the good and the bad from the ugly.
"What makes these stories all the more compelling is that none of the newspeople knew when they came to work that morning that an assignment full of deadly risk waited for them, not in some distant battle scared, but very close to home."
Lou Boccardi President, The Associated Press

Oh really Lou? Make mine Bacardi & Coke. Oops. La, de, da...whistle while you CAN'T HEAR YOU LOU!....

Wow. That took a sad turn. A new kind of anguish is when you have to let go of even your friends. The ones that gave you some satisfaction along the way, offering what you thought was genuine narrative---and there were very few. You recollect the meaning---really, it was pleasure, to finally came across a photograph with real emotion. But that's the meaning of a limited hangout isn't it? You get a little something good for you, but then you have to settle for it. You WANT to settle for it. It is your piece of a...FRIEND!

William Biggart's images were sold to us as being the most spectacular, and most tragic of the whole lot of in New York---stunning images which survived the collapse although Bill didn't. The only journalist to die that day. But Wendy dear, your blurb gives you away. For intellectual consistency's sake, I have come to see you in the only one context ever available. For your sake, I hope Bill was rendered someplace safe. I hope you're reunited---if that's what you want. Did the original briefing unfold as planned? How did they contract for this? Was it all about money? Or was it a more complicated offer you couldn't refuse? Well, you'll have to be forgiven, it's the only option, but the truth and reconciliation committee has a few questions for you now.
"This book tells one of the most important stories of the century---a story that changed not only the landscape of New York, but also the way people here in America and throughout the world view life. What other spot would a photojournalist rather be in?" Wendy Doremus
whose husband William Biggart was killed while covering the attack
Anyway, Wendy, your quote above is wrong. The photojournalists took absolutely miserable images in New York. Not even a single image of the south face of Building 7 before it fell. Not a single image of the towering hulk of Tower 2's skeleton before it was blown late on Wednesday.
"The heroic acts of New York's firefighters would never have been documented without the courageous coverage of journalists who knew instinctively the were writing a tragic chapter in America's history."
Peter L. Gorman, President, Uniformed Fire Officers Association, City of New York
Do you see how God climbs right into the grammar in the blurb above? Technically, it's true, because heroism wasn't documented. Show me a single image of a fire fighter doing something heroic that day. The Naudet film? Gag me! I had held up one image as a candidate---that of Mike Kehoe going up the stairs, but that was taken by an amateur anyway, John Labriola. My most cherished 9/11 memory was seeing him on ABC. He'd walked up to his sister's apartment in the West 60's, and she'd dragged him into the studio live. I remember him sitting there, and when it dawned on him that the men were going up while the building was coming down, he just burst into sobs. Tremendous video dudes.

An interesting bit of truthiness in one story though, in a recollection by Sara Kugler, a writer for The Associated Press.

KUGLER: Our little group ran into 20 Vesey Street. By then, I wasn't in the quote mode. I felt a lot better having a police officer with us, although he seemed scared. As the smoke and dust came right in it became difficult to breathe. That was scary. The officer decided we needed to be lower and directed us down a rickety staircase, with no lights, along this long, winding hall to a room where we found a fan. I was wearing sandals with a one-and-a-half inch heel. My shoe got caught on the stairs. I jiggled it free and then it got caught on the next one, but I didn't want to go barefoot.

In the room, there was a phone that worked, and the officer made a call. At one point, he hung up and left the room to check upstairs, so I picked up the phone to call the AP. He came back in and yelled, "What are you doing!" I told him, "I'm a reporter and I was just going to call my office." He yelled at me, "Fuck your job." So I hung up.

God, what a small moment. What a beautiful, tiny little moment at such a critical time on this great spinning orb.

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