Sunday, September 11, 2016

#NeverForget : 9/11 Mission Creep And The Creepy Ways It Is "Remembered"

A store in San Antonio, Texas reportedly had to close after running a commercial where two towers of mattresses 
were knocked down to advertise a sale of any size mattress at a "twin" price. Details here.
If you work in public schools like I do you may have been treated on Friday to the annual government-sponsored ad to "remember" 9/11. It's a manufactured memory, because even the oldest students in my school were not born in 2001 when the U.S. equivalent of the burning of the Reichstag was staged. Thus it is important for the powers that be to continue selling their version of the burning of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. As adults surely remember, it was this catastrophe that officially ushered in the era of the endless "war on terror."

You might think that the many, many, many corporate media spectacles selling 9/11 brand patriotism would be far more effective than school administrators interrupting classes to read a script calling on staff and students to stand up and observe a moment of silence. This had to be done on Friday, September 9 this year since 9/11 will fall on the weekend. This had the effect of making the "remembrance" effort aimed at kids even more contrived. 

You might not realize that middle school students seldom read newspapers or magazines these days, and hardly ever consume broadcast television unless it's a sporting event (more on that later). They are busy snapchatting, texting and watching YouTubers that amuse them. 

If it weren't for schools giving students weekly magazines like Time for KidsJunior Scholastic and other corporate media designed for their consumption, they probably wouldn't even know which two candidates for president the corporations have selected for them. Or which event kicked off the wars they have always lived with which funnel mad profits into the coffers of the most wealthy corporations on the planet.

A teacher I know recently reported her middle school students could not identify pictures of any of the candidates, and 40% of them could not identify a picture of the current president of the United States.

Who they could identify is the quarterback for the New England Patriots football team.

Their whole life the media spectacle of false dichotomy has been sold and sold hard via professional sports. Not only by the subliminal message of two teams, one with red shirts and one with blue, applying superior force to become wealthy and famous; additionally, their parents' taxes have been spent by the Pentagon paying NFL and other sports teams to stage patriotic spectacles.

As Maine's dumb-like-a-fox corporate-sponsored governor recently said in promoting his allegation that drug dealers in our state are predominately black or Hispanic (a statistic the FBI disputes): 
“Look, the bad guy is the bad guy, I don’t care what color he is. When you go to war, if you know the enemy and the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue, then you shoot at red."
So the governor understands what every kid "knows," that all the guys can be divided into two groups and you're always on the good side. This firm belief allows your government to sell weapons to the country that most of the 9/11 hijackers were alleged to hail from -- Saudi Arabia, which has been bombing the civilians of Yemen to smithereens these past several years -- thus siding with apparent "bad guys" while magically remaining good guys yourselves.

This is the real message and lesson of the 9/11 tragedy that killed thousands that day and then provided the pretext for killing millions more in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria that had nothing to do with it. There's a (false) dichotomy, and you had better know which side you're on.

Kids are afraid to be seen as unpatriotic now. They don't really know why it's so important to always support the military and always believe that their country is good, but they're getting the message loud and clear that they had better go along to get along. Or else.

Because if they fail to comply they might find themselves on the wrong side in an endless war with no goals, no victories, no exit plan, and no purpose other than self-perpetuating profits and resource theft.

And if that's not a good enough reason to "remember" 9/11, I don't know what is.


Regis said...

Excellent, Lisa.

Robinellenb said...

I think you have some insights here, Lisa, but it does not go far enough. Please help your readers to understand how you, as a teacher, address the issue of the false narrative in your Maine classroom. I am a public school teacher too. I would love to hear about how you help your students deconstruct this false dichotomy without selling them on another adult-constructed view. In other words, how do you get them to take a step back and think for themselves? What texts do your kids analyze? What, if any, thinking exercises do you offer to help your students deconstruct the stories and myths of 9/11. I recently listened to a podcast interview by Krista Tippett (On Being) with Rebecca Solnit that speaks directly to the issues of what stories we are telling. It is worth a listen, IMHO.

Lisa Savage said...

Hi Robin, Thanks for your comment and for the recommended podcast. The focus of my blog is not education; if it were, I would probably lose my job.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant, Lisa! Important! I've spammed it far & wide -- Eric Herter