Quick Hits - September 11

Here’s a collection of interesting links and random thoughts that I’ve pulled together these past few days so that I wouldn’t have to blog today… because I just don’t want to.

On the subject of ABC/Disney’s myth making regarding the 9/11 attacks, you really should read Lizbeth’s post on Pearl Harbour, 9/11 and re-imagining these events. It’s a powerful post, especially due to one woman’s memory of being a 12-year-old girl at Pearl Harbour on the day that lives in infamy. Lizbeth raises many excellent points, both on the dishonesty of the 9/11 movie’s producers, and on the increasing practise, these days, of creating films that are “based on” and “inspired by” true events. Why “based on” or “inspired by”? Why not just show us the events?

It’s one thing to create stories, or to use real events to inform stories set in a particular time, but once you start playing with real people, I start to get edgy. It’s tricky enough having the Murder Room fictionalize the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but I hated James Cameron’s movie Titanic with the passion of the iceberg for the same reason. Those were real people the director was talking about, the memories of whom he was slandaring. And Titanic did not have a political agenda the way that The Road to 9-11 clearly seems to be following. I’ll leave the last words to Lizbeth:

FDR was right. Fear itself is the enemy. It makes you do stupid things. It makes you close your eyes because you think it’ll make the monsters in the closet disappear, too. Wallowing in fear does nothing. Feeding that fear is a true crime. Lying about it to entertain the masses or make a political point, however…well…that’s just a sin.

Hat tip to Colleen for the link.

Now this is a worthwhile blogging project: Centrerion has been assigned the task of researching and writing a tribute to one of the 2996 victims of the September 11 attacks as part of the 2996 project. Good job Centrerion!

On the other side, it is a shame to hear that so many individuals apparently believe one of various conspiracy theories regarding the September 11 attacks. Apparently, 22% of Canadians and — more wildly — 36% of Americans believe that “the federal government either assisted in the attacks or allowed them to happen as a pretext to start a war in the Middle East.”

I don’t believe there are as many Canadians or Americans who believe the conspiracy theories surrounding JFK’s assassination.

I don’t have time for this sort of thinking, but what you may be seeing is the cost of the Bush Administration’s unwillingness to play straight with the public. We have learned that federal officials downplayed the environmental effects of living in Ground Zero, in part to avoid paying firefighters and police officers what they deserve in terms of disability. We have seen the Bush Administration turn away from the reconstruction of Afghanistan to invade Iraq on pretexts that have since failed to pan out. We have seen earlier statements on America’s ability to capture and hold Iraq (it will be “a cakewalk”; “they will welcome us as liberators”) proven to be false.

In short, the Bush Administration has lost credibility with a sizable chunk of the public, both inside and outside America. And much of that blame can go nowhere else but on their shoulders.

In the absence of official credibility, some individuals become susceptible to alternate explanations which make sense in their minds. If the official story is brought into question, then it becomes easier to believe a false story that further questions the officials.

Which is truly, deeply, sad.

On Piecemeal Senate Reform

I very much do not like the attitude being copped by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and certain Liberal senators on the issue of senate reform, but one idea has come forward that I can get solidly behind. I’ve earlier criticized Stephen Harper’s piecemeal senate reform proposals because such reform taken without careful forethought could make the senate worse, not better. For example, electing senators to terms that don’t end until their 75th birthdays gives the appearance of democratic legitimacy to our senators without the accountability of running for re-election. Dangerous. Also, changing the manner in which senators were chosen, and the number of seats each province received, was a constitutional amendment that could not be applied unilaterally by parliament without the support of at least seven provinces representing 50% of the population.

However, the proposal to limit senator terms to eight years makes a lot of sense. Better yet, according to analysis from Occam’s Carbuncle, it appears that this decision is something that parliament can move unilaterally on. As I said, an eight year term for senators is something I could support. It makes the Senate less of a retirement home for aging politicians, and it could improve the institution’s accountability.

Moderate Post has a good analysis on the high points and the low points of Stephen Harper’s senate reform proposals. I’m still interested in hearing a debate on why the provinces should have equal representation versus something “equitable” that doesn’t throw popular representation completely out the window.

Slumlords for Sylvia Watson


The blog Nice Comfy Fur has alerted me of a number of funny pictures on his website surrounding Thursday’s by-election battle. Yes, I would say that putting up election signs in front of boarded-up houses has the air of desperation about it. But time, as always, will tell.

Another Unwritten Girl Review

Well, I’m pleased to announce that The Unwritten Girl is officially in the United Kingdom. Bart over at Bartspace provides a very kind review. Thanks Bart! You all should pay this literary blog more attention.

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