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I just finished watching the show, “The Path to 9-11,” which was only interrupted in the middle by a speech by the President. If you missed it, I would see it. By documenting and re-creating the series of events up to the hi-jackings, the show finally put 9-11 into tragedy.
Tragedy is a word so misused that the word has virtually been destroyed. Tragedy does not mean what most people think: of something very bad happening. 9-11 is not the tragedy. The tragedy is looking back on it and knowing that action could have been to stop it. Imagine a cute little pig- tail haired girl walking with her mother. The mother turns away to look at the sky (or something) and this cute little pig-tail haired girl runs into the street and is smashed by a bus. The smashing of the bus is not the tragedy. The tragedy is when the mother realizes her error for looking else ware at the time of daughter’s run into the road. In all the plays, such as the ancient Greek plays, that are “tragedies” including Shakespeare, this is the important point. The tragedy of Hamlet is not him dying. The tragedy is knowing that he didn’t have to die. In the same way, an elderly 100 year old woman dying due to age is not a tragedy and never will be. But an obese person knowing they are going to die because they were stupid to eat all those milk duds in their life that is the tragedy. Finally, a film on 9-11 that doesn’t just show towers falling down, but instead shows the tragic elements that allowed the attack.
Three things surprised me after 9-11. First, on every anniversary, everyone tries to inject themselves into the story. “I was going to fly that day!” “I knew someone in the WTC!” And so on. Second, I never thought there would be conspiracy kooks who would possibly think the U.S. Government would be behind the WTC and Pentagon hits (but then again, there are kooks who think NASA never landed on the moon as well). Third, and most humorously, I was stunned by the reaction of the Objectivists. The Objectivists, the so-called followers of Ayn Rand, were on television days after demanding nuclear war. They were the most hawkish of any political faction ever. One Objectivist I know was clearly surprised by their stance. I do remember how Ayn Rand literally worshipped the skyscraper and believed firmly in the philosophy of Capitalism. The Objectivists probably saw the WTC as their symbol and its destruction as the worst attack possible in their eyes.
The most amazing thing came when I helped move a friend to a local college. It was a sunny August Texas afternoon. While I was waiting for my friend, I was in the parking lot and something caught my eye. It was a man, with no shirt on, just leaning back on his pick-up. I emphasize the word man because he stuck out in a sea of androgynous beings that fill modern society.
He had an aura of masculinity I have never seen before. Granted, every one of us, male and female, move in and out of masculinity (or femininity for girls) within our lives. When we get old or lazy, we tend to revert to a more androgynous form. But his form was sharply masculine. Imagine if a shirt-less Schwarzenegger appeared out of nowhere. You’d stare in awe. But this man was not a puffed up body builder. His muscles were hard and not the bubble like form you see body builders have. His skin was oddly tanned…even for south Texas. He was almost red…but not burnt. Almost as if he was bronze. Some people will think it is ‘homosexual’ to notice this. But when someone of either extreme femininity or masculinity ends up nearby, their sheer aura commands your attention. Everything about this guy was sharply defined. He had a cigar in his mouth puffing away. The best description I can give was that he resembled the Marlboro Man.
I decided to go over and talk to him. He said he was in the military and had just gotten back from Iraq (we were near Fort Hood). He also was helping someone move into the college. But he wasn’t just another soldier in Iraq. He was part of a special team. I asked him more about this.
This man was extremely laid back. He acted like he didn’t have a care in the world (and why should he after returning from a war zone?). He then told me he was part of the team that captured Saddam Hussein.
What do you say to that? “You capture dangerous dictators bent on world domination? Hah! I do…uh…office work…and…Fax papers…so beat that!” Granted, this man could, with his leave from the military, just become a couch potato and shed off any masculinity into an androgynous form. But at that moment (it wasn’t too long since Hussein was captured) he simply glowed testosterone. He wasn’t “handsome” but extremely rugged. I’m sorry; I lack the talent of language to describe him. Let us just say when you look at an androgynous blog, your mind thinks, “Stillness.” But when you looked at him, his aura was screaming action.
He is, as most masculine men are, nameless. You will never see his photo on the news or any parades in his honor. But he is the most masculine man I had ever seen…and probably will ever see in my life.