We know memory is convenient. We prefer to remember the happy and the good while repressing the horrible and the cruel. We also know there is one guarantee in this life you can always count on: There Will Always Be Bad Art. The current “Jumpers Sculptures” pocking the heart of New York City is but the latest example of cruelty in convenience masquerading as inspired artwork.
The USA is losing its immigrant mind! The landed have traditionally helped build America into what it is today: A great mosaic of thoughts, colors and dreams. Today, because of punishing politics and a shrinking world, Harvard University reports immigrants are returning to their homeland instead of building a better life in the USA. An entire generation of immigrants is giving up on their American Dream and I’m not sure if we can blame them for the departure.
It’s that time of year again when New York City once again feels sorry for itself and the parade of 9/11 martyrs make their mandatory appearance in the pit of what used to be the World Trade Center. This morning, we witnessed the young children of the dead — they “do not remember their father” — but are nonetheless forced to pretend to recall him on television, in speeches they did not write, to help perpetuate the offensive and utterly meaningless “Why Us?” chest thumping that has replaced healing and rediscovery of a forward-propelling hope in America.
In my article, The Incongruity of Mourning and the 9/11 Memorial, we discussed how to create an appropriate memorial for the World Trade Center loss.
Last week we received updated news the Ground Zero World Trade Center site would be re-built using invisible buildings that blend into the sky, reflect the environment around them and form a transparent skyline while shouting to the world: “Please don’t hit us again! We’re here, but our buildings really aren’t!”
When do the dead cost more than the living? Is there greater worth being dead than being a survivor? In the wake of a national tragedy the lost automatically become more important than the living and I wonder why such great value is placed on the dead. After the Towers fell there was great mourning and public expression of loss.
Bones are hardy and can testify throughout antiquity to the state of the person who earned those bones in their body. However, the dreams and wishes of others embedded in those bones are frail and fleeting because memory is convenient and, as humans, we run from pain instead of searching out suffering.
With the recent discovery of 74 more bone fragments mixed with gravel that had been shoveled to the sides of the roof of the former Deutsche Bank building in the ongoing open wound that is the World Trade Center disaster on 9/11, we are forced to reconcile the way we choose to memorialize people beyond bones and flesh. Deutsche Bank — the building below shrouded in black netting and holding the American flag — will be demolished floor-by-floor in June.
I have been sitting here for three hours trying to find a way to begin this blog entry. Where should I start? How do I bring it all up again? There are some things you don’t ever want to recall. Forcible recall is treacherous.
Yesterday, for the first time since September 11, 2001, I returned to the killing grounds of the World Trade Center. I returned, not by choice, but by the happenstance of mass transit. In my GO INSIDE Magazine article, Celebrate the Dead, Mourn the Living I reflect on what the World Trade Center meant to me and to a city. I have been uninterested in returning to “Ground Zero” because I have no interest in gawking at the empty space where once stood giants.
Yesterday, I had a meeting in downtown Manhattan and I decided to jump on the PATH train and get off at the WTC stop. Now, “WTC” has always meant “World Trade Center” even when it was not operable for four years, but WTC has always been a destination, and not a place, in the minds of many who ride the PATH every day. The recently re-opened WTC stop on the PATH brought the end-of-the line back to Manhattan proper and, I while I was prepared to get off at the WTC stop, I was unprepared for what I was about to witness.