9/11 and the Pastness of the Past ~ “Nothing is over about 9/11, but the national consciousness pretends it is so.”
Nothing is over about 9/11, but the national consciousness pretends it is so.
A couple of months ago, when Howard Stern took a couple of weeks off from his morning radio show, Sirius radio replayed “The History of Howard Stern, Part Four,” the final installment of which consists mostly of generous excerpts from the Stern show for September 11, 2001, beginning a few minutes before the first plane hit the World Trade Center. It was nothing less than riveting to listen to. (Unsurprisingly, it turns out that that day’s program is available in its entirety on YouTube.)
On the show, Howard is babbling on in his usual fashion about wanting to get into Pam Anderson’s pants when he interrupts himself to tell his listeners that a plane has smashed into one of the Twin Towers. His conversation with his in-studio regulars then takes a dramatic turn. They follow the reports on TV and talk among themselves in much the same way that millions of others did on that unforgettable morning. They don’t comport themselves like stiff news broadcasters — they don’t edit themselves; they don’t watch their words. They’re just real people, getting angry at the monsters who did this and speculating (correctly, as it turned out) about their identity and motives. They also take calls from listeners and friends of the show who have news updates, personal experiences, or comments to share.
On Sirius channel 100, every episode of the The Howard Stern Show is repeated over and over on the day of broadcast and again on Friday and the weekend. I must confess that I listened to the 9/11 show several times. I was surprised at myself. I wasn’t sure at first why I was doing this. Then I realized that it filled a deep-seated need. What I needed, as the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approached, was to return to that day itself and remind myself what it felt like — the shock, the rage, the unashamed patriotism and moral clarity, all of it as yet unclouded by the poisonous cynicism, moral relativism, and multicultural shilly-shallying that would lead to so much national division and self-doubt in the years to come.
So salutary was my dose of Stern that I sought out other 9/11 material on YouTube. Among the things I watched was…………….