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Captain America and the WTC

October 2001

- Sharkey

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Finally finished a Stream about What Happened Last Month that I've been picking at since the 16th.

New Life, too, and the May-July Archive's up. And the BBS is back up, too, but you probably already knew that.

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Stream of Consciousness


I Probably Should Have Just Left It At Goosnargh.


Well, it was bound to happen. Having run out of ways to entertain myself (I don't think I'll be showing up on #finalfight for a few days, for example) and being too stupid to just go to bed, I am going to talk about the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

First and foremost, I will say with all seriousness that this event is precisely what humor was invented for. I fundamentally believe that humor is one of the very few forces in the world that, however lightly, can cushion a blow on the scale of this tragedy. (Note: During no week in the history of television have we needed The Simpsons so much as we did this past. ...So they preempted it for Mrs. Doubtfire. Thanks a fucking lot, Fox.) So, while I don't intend to be too dark, odds are I'll crack a joke here and there and you may want to bail now if you don't think you can deal with that.

Secondly, the opinions I am about to express are the sort of opinions you would expect from a guy who still has a Nader/LaDuke button at the top of his page. Tree-hugging liberal long-haired hippie freak shit to follow.

But first and foremost, here's another Mountain Dew picture.

The WOMEN of the Mountain Dew Excursion.

Yeah, Yeah, Date, Infamy.

Well, to start off...everybody old enough to remember the JFK assassination remembers where and how they first heard about it. Everybody's saying this is our generation's version of the JFK assassination, and, for my part, I agree, at least insofar as we're all going to remember where and how we first heard about it. So here's how I first heard about it.

September 11, 2001. 7:30 AM Arizona time. My roommate Owen's alarm clock has just gone off, and so we're both kinda half asleep. The phone rings; the machine picks it up. "Hi, Owen, it's Kristi. It's 7:30. You're probably still in bed, should get up and turn on the TV. Somebody's...attacked the World Trade Center,'s not there anymore." I sat up as best my half-asleep frame would allow and uttered a pithy "Whoa," while Owen bounded across the room in about two steps (he has the bottom bunk) and had the TV on in less time than you would ordinarily think humanly possible. We saw the smoking craters surrounded by panicking people, and Owen bolted down the hall, banging on doors, while I jumped off my bed and punched up #finalfight.

Now here's the part where I start to spout off about politics. You've been warned.

Last month, I thought trade sanctions against Iraq were wrong, that they harmed countless innocent people who don't like Saddam any more than we do.

Last month, I thought NAFTA, the WTO, the GATT, and assorted other US trade agreements were wrong, that they sacrificed democracy, constitutional rights, and environmental standards so that the rich could get richer.

Last month, I thought dropping bombs on assorted civilian targets in the middle east and supporting Israel's acts of ethnic cleansing were wrong. I don't think I need to expand on that.

This month, there are two pits where the World Trade Center once stood. I am shocked. I am angry. I am sad, and I am scared. But my beliefs have not wavered.

I am going to stop right here to make a point. Do not, under any circumstances, construe my beliefs as any justification for the violent murder of thousands of innocent human beings. There is no justification. I very seldom draw strict, black-and-white, good-and-evil lines in my perception of the universe, but I will say, with neither equivocation nor hesitation, that the attacks on the World Trade Center were evil.

That said, attempts by conservatives to bill this as an attack on our freedom disgust me. There is no excuse for the kind of fetid opportunism that would turn such a horrible event into corporate propaganda.

Bit of An Interlude

Bit of an interlude. Friday the 14th, I received my absentee ballot for the preceding Tuesday's recall election of Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano. Giuliano has not been the best mayor; controversy has especially followed him in recent months, what with outcry against the forthcoming Cardinals Stadium and the infamous Tempe Town Lake ("Hey, I know, let's put a lake in the middle of the desert! ...Oh, shit, now it's suddenly 120 degrees and humid!")...but I think everybody figured out the real reason for the recall election was that a bunch of right-wingers weren't too happy with the fact that Giuliano is gay. Me? I'm a bit on the disappointed side over that lake business, but if I ever vote against him, I'll do it in a real election, not one set up by a bunch of bigots. ...Of course, since I didn't get my ballot on time, this is something of a moot point.

Food for thought: Every fellow student I talked to last November who ordered an absentee ballot from Maricopa County got it late; I was the only exception. Incidentally, most of them were progressive types like know, Nader voters.

I've really been intending to change my registration from Democrat to Green, but I'm worried that might result in my getting even more jerked around in the future.

I actually saw Winona LaDuke speak six weeks or so back. She's great. Total mother figure, really. Manages to compare her attitudes toward the world to the way she raises her children, but without being condescending and obnoxious like your high school drama teacher. You know what I'm talking about.

My favorite part was when she compared Dick Cheney to Dr. Evil. Because, y'know, he keeps suggesting all these evil schemes to destroy the environment, evidently unaware that they already happened twenty-five years ago.

Featuring the Winner of the 2001 US Create-A-Villain Contest!

...So. Back to the towers. Nasty business, that.

You know who I'm not too fond of? The mass media. First and foremost, the bastards leapt right in and started talking about Bin Laden. I don't care how many clever little "We can't blame him without proof, but" statements they tacked on; they were subversively turning the public's enmity toward a man who, having not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, must be considered innocent. For if we allow anger to block our reason and give up the fundamental, honorable principles at the heart of American democracy, we have already lost. (All right, two Tom Tomorrow links in one paragraph might seem a bit much...I'll stop.)

Do I think Bin Laden did it? Probably. But probably is insufficient for waging a war. And even if the past several weeks have shown more and more evidence against him, that does not excuse pointing fingers at him half an hour after the attacks.

And is this evidence against him legitimate? Again, probably, but the mere fact that I will never have personal sensory evidence disturbs me. Sometimes, all the people need is a scapegoat, and in those cases, the government gives them one. I'm sorry, but I still don't believe that guy they lethally injected a couple months back for that last terrorist bombing acted alone.

(Just to clarify: my failure to mention McVeigh by name in the preceding sentence was an ironic device, not a display of complete ignorance of the subject I'm speaking on.)

All right, so I sound like some kind of paranoid freak who just read 1984. This might have something to do with the fact that I just read 1984. My point is, the press started pointing fingers without any hard evidence, and then evidence cropped up to support them. And that order of occurrence just doesn't seem quite natural to me.

All in all, I hope this thing's over soon. Sadly, I'm realistic enough to acknowledge that we're inevitably going to kill some innocent civilians before this thing is over. Ethically, I abhor the very concept, but, well, life isn't black and white; you can't make an omelet without killing a few hundred innocent people who just happen to live near the guy who flew a plane into a bunch of your innocent people.

How I Feel About Killing Civilians: A Realistic But Tree-Hugging Hippie Approach

At this point, I suppose I should probably share my views on Hiroshima, the quintessential example of America waging war on civilians.

First and foremost, I wasn't there. I wasn't there, I wasn't in Pearl Harbor, I wasn't in Dresden or any of Hitler's concentration camps. I wasn't even sitting at home listening to all the news on the radio. The only war I've lived through was Desert Storm. All I know about World War II is from books, movies, and, when I'm lucky, the occasional real-life account. Therefore, nothing I say about it is validated in the same way as it would be if I were sixty or seventy years older. I may present a logical argument, and I may present a good emotional argument, but I am so far removed from the reality of that situation that my judgement is really only useful insofar as it reveals something about my character.

All that said: By the time we dropped those atomic bombs, there was no other way. It was down to either the horrific deaths of their innocents or the horrific deaths of a whole lot more of our innocents. It was an ugly, unforgivable thing we did, but it ended the war swiftly and with a minimum number of civilian casualties. Had we allowed the war to continue, I believe even uglier things would have occurred.

But. Yes, there's a but here, the mother of all Catch-22's. But, World War II never had to happen. Churchill called it the Unnecessary War, and he was right. Diplomacy didn't fail in World War II, it was never used. England, France, the Vatican, and, Depression or no, the US could have stopped Hitler dead in his tracks an easy five years before the war ever started. No Hitler, no Axis, no nukes; and while we may have eventually wound up butting heads with Japan anyhow, well, that's the basis for a novel, not a syllogism.

So I think that says a little something about how I feel about warfare and civilian casualties. I still feel that killing civilians is plain and simple murder, and that there is no difference between murdering innocent workers in the World Trade Center and, say, murdering innocent farmers in Afghanistan, which is what this is probably going to come to. But, in a cold and purely logical sense, we must assume that some innocent people are going to die soon, and, as such, I hope and pray that we kill the fewest we conceivably can, eliminate the threat to thousands upon thousands of our innocents, and come back home to work on clearing out some rubble and mapping out a few blueprints for new buildings. ...Hey, let's try some geodesic domes this time, guys.

Back In the USSR?

...And I've just received a rather disturbing E-Mail. The Telecommunications Act rears its ugly head once more, McCarthy's skeletal hand gives a little thumbs-up, and, on the plus side, we've got a nice little Morpheus shopping list.

...Or so it would seem. Of course, like any level-headed individual, I did a bit of research, and the list of songs banned on Clear Channel is fake.

...What a list, though. Whatever sick mind thought it up was also a clever and well-versed mind. I've had a number of these songs rotating in my head since the attack myself. ...I actually stated the other day that I would've infinitely preferred it if they'd sung American Pie on the steps of Congress instead of God Bless America. I mean, God Bless America has no musical value, and it's not nearly secular enough for my tastes. American Pie is hip, but hip in a folk music-y way that can be replicated reasonably well by rich white boys. And, while it does refer to Jesus and Satan, Satan actually refers to Mick Jagger, so it's okay.

McCain, Bush, and the Abuse of Innocent American Citizens By Dumb Fucking Rednecks

But seriously, those Congress boys freak me out, man. Every time that clip's been on, I've scrambled manically for the remote and switched stations. ...Except the first time it was on, because then it was on every station, so I just had to mute it and look away.

And as for McCain's "God may forgive you, but we will not" soundbite, it had the ring of pure fanaticism to it and chilled me to the bone. ...Now, I know McCain's got quite a following, but I really don't care for him. I'll admit I like him better than any other member of the Republican Party I could name, and most of the Democratic, too, but that's a whole lot like saying I like him better than any method of having my testicles removed with a cantaloupe fork, and most of the methods of having just one removed with a grapefruit spoon, too.

And now on to the anti-Arab, anti-Muslim sentiment circulating through redneck havens everywhere. "Islam promotes fanaticism!" And I hate to stereotype, but I really think most of the idiots shouting that ridiculous dictum are Christian. Dumb assholes, have you forgotten what religion Hitler was?! ...Islam's like any religion: it was founded on principles of peace and love. But, like any religion, it is perfectly subject to misinterpretation by zealots. That's not just Islam, boys and girls. Holy wars have been waged by Christians, Jews, Hindus, and sometimes even the occasional Buddhist sect.

Frankly, I think Bush's comments on the abuse of Arab-Americans have served to make me feel more respect for the man than anything else he has said or done.

And how'bout Bush, anyway? You've gotta feel for the poor guy. I mean, I still don't like him that much, but God damn, what a fucking miserable position to be in. You know what haggard means? Turn on the TV and look for a recent clip of Bush. That's haggard. I doubt he's slept more than a half-hour at a time since the incident, and I'm guessing the thoughts running through his head consist mostly of Oh, fuck, why me?, Oh, fuck, what do I do now?, Oh God I wish I'd conceded the election to that other guy, and Oh God I have never wanted a vodka more in my life. ...Let me make something abundantly clear about that last remark: I am not making fun of Bush's alcoholism. Did you catch that? I am not making fun of Bush's alcoholism. I am expressing sympathy and concern for him and his disease, which I feel must sincerely be causing him more agony now than ever before.

...This sentence is going to have to serve as a transition, because I don't do very well with transitions (and neither does the whole Stream of Consciousness style), but I really feel jumping right from such a sober (no pun intended, I swear) point to The Next Thing wouldn't be right.

The Next Thing

Ye gods. It's been over 2 weeks since I touched this thing. I've repeatedly questioned whether or not I should even finish this damn thing, let alone post it. Fact is, I really can't say anything that dozens of other people haven't already said better. However, conversely, nobody but Brent and Steve ever really reads my page anyway, and they're going to ridicule me no matter what I say or do, so I am thus insulated, at least, from any unusual failure to impress anybody. That and Brent and Sharkey have really made me feel like I need to post a new Trinity adventure soon...and, KateStory 11 being closed, well, this is the place to do it, once I've cleared this update out of the way.

And so, while there are almost certainly a number of other topics I thought about hitting on and forgot, I think I'll go straight for the big finish instead.

Fact is, ol' Brent somehow managed to really get through to me with his commentary on the horror at the WTC. And I feel compelled to add some rather simplistic philosophy gleaned from my own experience.

...Okay, I lied. After writing that last portion, I quit out and messed around on my novel instead. (Yeah, I'm writing a novel. Something Thorgasm and I have in common.) ...And then I remembered that, before the big finish, I had to add a section called

My Old Man

Really, one of the huge things that have freaked me out about all this is my dad's reaction to it. Dad's a bitter, forty-one-year-old hippie with no reverence for anything. And a few weeks back, I saw an American flag on his dashboard.

Don't get me wrong. It's not like Dad suddenly loves our government. He doesn't. He wouldn't be surprised if this all turned out to be a CIA plot. But I figure he's got that flag on display not just because they were giving them away for free at the bar, but because he feels it represents the people. And while he ain't too fond of the American government, well, moments like this, he loves the American people.

...Really, the thing that shocked the fuck out of me was when I mentioned my fury that Fox pre-empted The Simpsons for Mrs. Doubtfire on Sunday the 16th, and that we needed Simpsons that night more than ever before, and Dad disagreed and stated that he thought it was too early to be laughing at anything again. ...This is the guy who was cracking jokes about taking automatic weapons down to the local high school on April 21, 1999.

So, all this to say, this thing sucked the irreverence right out of ol' Dad. And it was a damned disturbing thing for me.

Okay, now I'll go to the big finish.

The Big Finish

As I started to say earlier, Brent talked about how we need to find joy in the world around us, no matter how hard it may be these days. ...Me, I've been having a fucking bad year (who's going to tell me it's all in my head now?! Huh? Huh?!), and have been doing my best to keep what positive perspective I can.

Like the other day, I was riding my bike. ...I ride my bike to class regularly, usually regardless of weather conditions (unless I have a cold). This has given me a wonderfully horrible disdain for my fellow-man.

I hate pedestrians. Fuckers walking in the middle of the sidewalk. Or two alongside each-other. There's no reason for that. ...And even if you do walk in such a manner as to take up the entire sidewalk, it's not like bikes are quiet. Me, I've carefully trained myself to move to the side every time I'm walking and hear the whir of a bike chain. It's not a complicated skill. I can see why most people don't train themselves to juggle chainsaws. I can't see why they don't train themselves to pay attention when a bike is coming and move out of the way.

I also hate those sad bastards who won't ride their bikes if it's a little chilly. I mean, fall and spring, you can't find a place on the rack to lock your bike up, but winter, I see maybe two other guys a day on bikes. Oh no, it's a little cold outside. ...That's what we have clothes for, boys and girls. Ain't shit that a hat, a reasonably thick jacket, gloves, and, in extreme situations, long underwear can't fix. And if you're worried about injuring yourself on the ice, well, I only fell twice last winter, within five minutes of each other, and on my ass rather than my skull or various limbs, but if you're still concerned, wear a damn helmet.

Anyway. The other day, leaving the engineering building, I, as usual, got caught up in a throng of people, biking at an unbearable walking pace. ...Well...I looked down and realized that the girl I was stuck behind had one of the most perfect asses I had ever seen. I was probably stuck behind her for fifteen seconds, though it seemed a lot longer, but that time, being stuck moving slowly on my bike was an event of pure joy rather than pain and hatred.

There are a million cliches about how if you keep your eyes open, something that looks like it sucks might actually turn out to be pretty cool. I'll refrain from quoting any of them. Suffice to say, always look out for a nice ass.

Well, it''s not much of a philosophy, I know, but...well...fuck you!

Hey, the world's a beautiful place. Even now. Even still. I live in a place where the sky is blue in the daytime and star-filled at night. We get clouds, wind, rain, and snow. Some days, it's hard to see the beauty and wonder in such damned simple things, even for a city/desert boy like me. Especially when I wake up and it's so damn cold. But hell, whatever happens in life, there'll always be little things to be happy about. And I'm doing my best never to forget that. You guys should too.

The next update'll be funnier.


My Personal Life



Games: Xenogears.

Books: Bucky Fuller's Critical Path. the intro, anyway; I'll get back to it when my homework load lightens a bit.


Created 01.10.11
Uploaded 01.11.16
Last Updated 03.11.16