Monday, May 2, 2011

May 1, 2011: A Date That Will Live in Our Hearts

HBO and AMC got some free market research in the outpouring of community stories about how/when they heard the momentous announcement of President Obama that U.S. Special Forces had taken out Bin Laden. Seems everyone was either watching Treme (lots of the posters over at Sepinwalls) or The Killing (David Bushman and Matt Zoller Seitz open their pieces with).

I was also watching The Killing. I am surprised that neither HBO nor AMC broke in, or ran a zipper. So I didn’t know what had happened even as Stan drove Bennett into the closing credits on AMC. Then I didn’t feel like watching the news so I shut the TV off. I was on my way to bed when I decided to look at Twitter around 12:20 and to say my jaw dropped is an understatement.

It was a stunning experience to read tweets two hours into a historic moment. I couldn’t believe what I was reading so I ran back to the TV. It’s not that I didn’t trust the information on Twitter, but I needed more details, faster, than I was getting.

The Twitter stream added that amazing dimension of personal voice, sometimes witty, sometimes just piercing. For examples,

“They should have captured Bin Laden alive & made him continually go through airport security 4 the rest of his life.”

“Leave it to America to upstage a royal wedding”

“9/11 widow on my flight. In tears. Comforted by entire cabin. Life altering event to see”

Go to the Business Insider for full citations and more great examples.

“Rot in Hell”

I am a fan of Daily News headlines. They out-Posted the Post, which had the more milktoast “Got Him!”

This is not a serious theological dictate.

No, this is old school, salt-of-the-earth New Yorker attitude. (Like when Bogart’s Rick tells the Nazi Strasser “Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade.”)

I had come to think that we would never capture him. As the years passed it just seemed a piece of the mess of that is our war strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s a great psychological victory for every American. ‘Rejoicing’ is just an outpouring of pent-up emotion, which different people do in different ways.

There’s an excellent piece in Salon from Mary Elizabeth Williams, about the NYTimes dropping the “Mr.” from bin Laden’s name in articles.

First she echoes a bit of the Daily News: “There's no formal address in hell.”

Then she deduces the NYTimes is doing its own emotional release:

"Does it matter much whether, in its future reporting, the Times refers to the recently deceased as plain old "Bin Laden"? Only in that, by dropping the "Mr.," the paper's famously restrained editors have perhaps revealed a deep degree of feeling toward this man who wounded us so deeply, so close to home. It took American forces almost 10 years to find and kill bin Laden. But it took the New York Times just a few hours to take from him the only thing it could. In his death, there is no honor. And now, at the Times, there's no honorific either."

Damn yes.

(Top photo: Michael Appleton managed to bridge a decade in a single photograph on Sunday night. (NYTimes)

(Bottom Photo: Servicemen hang off a lamp post cheering in celebration as thousands of people celebrate in the streets at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Centre, waving American flags and honking horns to celebrate the death of al Qaeda founder and leader Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011 in New York City. By Spencer Platt/Getty Images.)


Tim F said...

I heard one New Yorker say that he was glad the Americans got Osama, not someone else. (Who? The French?) Is this what explains the outbreak of whooping and USA!-USA!-USA!-ing, whereas London, Madrid, Bali, Mumbai and other places that have been knocked sideways by Islamist terror are more restrained?

Mapeel said...

Tim, it's definitely the almost 10 years of pent-up rage that one individual could cause so much suffering, and we're not smart enough to find him. And there were many more reflective responses, as this NYTimes article reports

dorki said...

While it is satisfying to many if not most U.S. citizens that Osama is dead, more practically the treasure trove of information obtained during the raid will probably shake his organization to its roots. Likely revelations of financing, moles, double-dealers, and tactics would be just a start.

I wonder how many of our "friends" are really so pure-hearted.