People are talking

A message from Rich Pizor: We interrupt this blog to bring you the following message from a West-coast based American…

I’ve finally hit media saturation with the events of the moment, and have had some good quality time in front of the Playstation to let it all digest and percolate. Here are some observations, in no particular order, written about 18 hours after the event and edited later down the road for clarity.

• Peter Jennings is getting too old to be in front of a camera for more than about 8, maybe 9 hours.

• This is really an event that proved the power of the Internet — all day I was able to get rumors before the major media, and by monitoring an IRC channel was able to get simultaneous updates from no less than seven major news networks.

• I think the last time the attention of America was so totally focused on one event was the OJ Simpson verdict. :P

• This was, without question, a shining moment for amateur journalists — footage shot by daring bystanders with camcorders were popping up more frequently than the so-called professional footage, and was in many cases more interesting to watch.

• Macabre and callous though it may be, I have to admit to feeling a bit tickled, in a vengeful sense, upon learning that the American Express building near the WTC was on fire.

• I’ve seen more racism online in the past 24 hours than in the previous 10 years.

• I can’t help but wonder, through all of this, what the rest of the world must be thinking of our reaction to (and fixation upon) this tragedy. Not that I’m trying to trivialize it by any means — something that would, I know, be easy to do from my vantage in snugly San Francisco — for I know that this is one of the more spectacular terrorist acts in recent history. That said, I can’t help but think that we’re sort of behaving like a teenager the first time they have sex; terrorist activity is old hat to a lot of nations, and in some ways I can’t help but think our reactions have been fairly naive.

• I hate to say it, but…Off camera, Bush has got to be grinning from ear to ear. This is giving him the perfect excuse to do all sorts of things he’s wanted to do from day one — close borders, increase military spending, find an enemy and declare a popular war. How Bush reacts over the next 96 hours or so could very well set the tone for the next decade. Here’s hoping that sanity prevails.