After the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has come and gone without incident, many New Yorkers can breathe a sigh of relief: Not only because another terrorist attack was avoided/thwarted (or was never going to happen in the first place), but because some were dreading what they considered to be a 9/11 anniversary show -- or what one person described as disgusting political grandstanding.
Some of those critical of the 9/11 anniversary extravaganza came together via social media to share their discontent.
Raise your hand if you're stoked to never again have to live through another 10th anniversary of 9/11, tweeted author Mary Beth Williams.
Anyone opening a 9/11 anniversary-free bunker? Will pay for silence, Twitter user @gastropada wrote.
Marisa Bowe, who has been living in New York City for 26 years, prompted an outpouring of reactions when she posted this comment on Thursday: Srsly, I can't take ONE SINGLE SECOND of 9/11 crap. Does anyone know that Hemingway story, 'Soldier's Home'? Relevant. The protagonist of Soldier's Home is a returning soldier who exaggerates stories of his heroism to the point that he corrupts his own, true memories of the war.
Over a dozen commenters to Bowe's post were in agreement.
What's a 9/11? Scott Matthews joked.
Just unthinkingly walked home thru the corridor of commerce and catharsis, said novelist and native Brooklynite Rachel Cline, describing the site of the 9/11 Memorial. Strange anticipatory energy ... every third person [is] a cop or a camera crew -- like the night before Mardi Gras or something.
When asked to elaborate on what she meant by 9/11 crap, Bowe told IBTimes she took particular issue with the spurious, contrived emotion and meaning of the anniversary events and unrelenting media coverage.
I don't like the way it seems [New York] city is almost defined now by 9/11. Not to in any way minimize the impact of it on the victims, the martyrs, and their friends and family in particular, as well as the city and the country in general, but a city -- let alone a country -- is not defined by a single event, Bowe said. NYC is a fabulously complex, constantly evolving organism that's infinitely larger and grander than that one event.
On Friday, The New York Times published a story about the subset of New Yorkers who were choosing not to observe any of the myriad 9/11 anniversary events in the city. Of the two dozen people asked about their weekend plans for the article, only two said they were considering going to a 9/11 memorial event.
Many New Yorkers want nothing to do with the innumerable happenings attached like limpets to the anniversary, N.R. Kleinfeld wrote. Plenty of them are leaving town, wanting as much space as possible from the ghosts and the day's enduring grasp.
One Brooklyn woman said she was going to the beach.
I don't want to be reminded, Laurel Wells told The Times. Enough. I'm bummed. I really don't want to go through that again. It's not a celebration.
E.J. McPherson, who witnessed the WTC Towers collapse from close-range, and lost a friend in the attacks, shared the sentiment. The public events become like a pep rally, he said to The Times. They're not a remembrance. Keep it simple.
Bowe posted a link to the Times article on her Facebook page, prompting further commentary:
Greatly relieved to read this thread, one person wrote. A few hours ago I almost posted a status update that was something like: 'does not want to be reminded of 9/11.' Stopped myself from doing so, because I thought that I would just start a war of words.
Another wrote: A friend asked me if I could separate out the politics of mercenary consultants run wild, invasions, torture, unlimited surveillance and suspension of rights by national security edicts from the emotional balm of a memorial to the innocents who died and the workers who are dying.
Jason Chervokas weighed in with his thoughts on why so many New Yorkers were exhausted by the memorialization. You know, I think there are a couple of things going on for us New Yorkers. First, we're reminded of 9/11 every day when we see the Manhattan skyline, when we travel all the routine daily places we were traveling that morning... Also -- putting aside the notion of exploitation, political or otherwise -- just as a practical, cultural matter, for people who weren't here or at the Pentagon or, I guess in Shanksville -- never mind for people who lost family and friends -- the attacks were kind of a show, real in one sense, but also abstract at the same time...and now it's still a show, just a nostalgic one.
I'm not nostalgic for that morning. It's still too real. I think about it pretty much every day when I look downtown...I definitely don't want any more reminders of people leaping out of those buildings. I don't really want to see those images ever again in any context.
Critics of the enforced 9/11 remembrance could be dismissed by some as your stereotypical cynical New Yorkers. But for most, the resistance does not reflect a wish to avoid any emotions connected to 9/11, but rather a concern that the mercenary consultants are threatening to supplant the genuine and the personal with the inauthentic and diffuse.
The other day, I suddenly found myself shuddering, 'An airplane really flew down Manhattan, full of people, smack into one of the World Trade Towers! My god, the horror!' Bowe told IBTimes.
That was a moment of genuine memory and feeling, she said. The avalanche of fake crap threatens to destroy people's individual memories and emotions.