My office was the living room closet in a huge one-bedroom in a 1920s East Hollywood apartment court, across the street from the big blue Scientology headquarters in the old Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. There were built-in bookshelves and just enough space for a chair and a laptop and an ashtray. The neighbor lady's rescued pit bulls romped outside in the overgrown garden, and that electric L.A. sunlight came filtered through the grimy old French windows to the hardwood floors. It was a very pleasant place to work, my friends lived within walking distance in other cheap apartments in Los Feliz, and I had a bad case of being in [...]
Are you pregnant now, and in your second trimester? Then you are obviously the most selfish human in the world, and your terribleness will bring forth a child of great evil, who will shower devastation upon the country and usher in a new dark era of rising tides and a catastrophe of the climate.
Oh, wait, that was happening anyway? Cause and effect is so COMPLICATED. Sorry, no, your baby is fine! As you were! I'll buy it a nice cashmere blanket that it can barf on.
But apparently people were traipsing up and down stairs with buckets of water, people were watching their kitty cats float away, [...]
We're not gonna make a huge deal out of this, but today is kind of a thing.
Every time the Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close trailer plays in the theater I have an equally incredible bad reaction. It's like I'm on a tiny bus and I'm allergic to peanuts and everyone is eating peanuts all around me and the bus is bound for somewhere I didn't want to go and maybe the driver is dead from all the peanuts and the bus is going off the road. In Delaware. I have had three of these rage-crying fits now, no joke, and I'm not sure I can keep going to the movie theaters until this thing is released and no longer being teased. The manipulation cuts like a [...]
"We will see today if it is positive news for Nadal as the Open plays its fourth straight Monday men’s final, but the first one that could have been avoided out of consideration for the weekend’s ticketholders. By rearranging the final four days of play, ticket-holders for Friday, Saturday and Sunday had to completely rearrange their schedules on 9/11 weekend." —How was your 9/11 weekend?
Jotham Sederstrom, 34, freelance reporter: On September 10th, my friends took me out for birthday drinks in Chicago. I was out until three or four, I think, at a place called "The Hideout." Among other places. I didn’t wake up until about noon, at which point everything had changed.
George Spyros, 44, executive producer: I got married the weekend before. We had a bunch of friends and family from out of town, and went out Monday night for dinner. My wife and I were supposed to fly out on September 11th for our honeymoon. On top of that, it’s my birthday.
Michael Wright, 44, editorial director: September 11th has always [...]
Remember the controversy over the cover to Steve Reich's WTC 911? There's been a change of plans, says Reich:
When the cover was released on the Nonesuch site and elsewhere, there was, instead, an outpouring of controversy mostly by people who had never heard the music.
When WTC 9/11 was performed by the Kronos Quartet, first in Durham, North Carolina, at Duke University and then shortly afterwards outside of Los Angeles and then at Carnegie Hall and again at the Barbican Centre in London, the reaction of the public and press was extremely thoughtful and moving. To have this reaction to the music usurped by the [...]
A couple of years ago, I took the train out to Long Island to interview the last person pulled alive from the wreckage of the Twin Towers. Genelle Guzman-McMillan had been in her early 30s on September 11, 2001, and employed by the Port Authority, which had an office on the 64th story of the World Trade Center. She and her coworkers had managed to make it out into the stairwell and all the way down to the 13th floor before the second plane hit, after which the entire building collapsed and Guzman-McMillan was buried under several thousand tons of debris and dust. She lay there for 27 hours, a [...]
Should we hold news organizations to the account over the prominence they award to 9/11 anniversary commemorations? Who cares, it's 9/13 aready. We don't have to think about any of that for another year.
“I get drunk a few times a week, so I guess I could have done it.” —Local man calls 911 from World Trade Center, reports planes flying into building, is the worst kind of drunk.
Viewed through the unripe eyes of Calhoun’s 13-year-olds, the collapse of the Twin Towers might have been a natural disaster. Captions tell us that the “The loss was sudden and great”; “Smoke and dust were everywhere”; and “The streets were empty.” For all the project’s pretense to chronicle, nothing indicates why. “People donated blood.” So? Blood drives are commonplace. “The people were afraid.” But of what? Yes, “people still miss the Twin Towers.” But why are they gone? Did they just fall down of their own accord? Might their destruction have had something to do with the lethal ideology of Islamist jihadists? Or with Islam’s theological imperative toward [...]
• "20/20: Remembrance and Renewal: 10 Years after the 9/11 Attacks" (ABC) • "102 Minutes That Changed America" (History Channel) • "9/11: 10 Years Later" (CBS) • "9/11: America Remembers Ten Years Later: A Special Edition of Good Morning America" (ABC) • "9/11: Day That Changed the World" (Smithsonian Channel) • "9/11: Heroes of the 88th Floor" (TLC) • "9/11: In Our Own Words" (MSNBC) • "9/11: Rising Above" (NBC) • "9/11: State of Emergency" (History Channel) • "9/11: Stories in Fragment" (Smithsonian Channel) • "9/11: Ten Years Later" (ReelzChannel) • "9/11: The Days After" (History Channel) • "9/11: Timeline of Terror" (Fox News) • "9/11: Where Were You?" (National [...]
So, September. Somehow, we’ve made it. Seemed sort of touch-and-go there for a minute.
In lots of ways, September is one of the very best months we have. The fetid, humid wilt of August lifts into a cooler, cleaner late-summer balm. The sky is bluer and the clouds whiter and puffier than at any other time of year. Baseball games start to actually matter and corn is so sweet you don’t even have to cook it. Sure, there’s the inevitable reminder of aging and mortality that comes with tipping towards autumn, and when you were a kid, back-to-school time definitely sucked. (Except, not entirely. There was the excitement of novel [...]
There is a prominent grid square on our cultural map that I've learned not to see or talk about. I don’t look at the New York skyline, and I avoid the news for the three days around each anniversary of 9/11. My brother, Aaron Jacobs, was killed in the World Trade Center that day, along with thousands of others. In my daily interactions since then, I have had a terrific wife, world travels and cute kids at the ready to absorb the friendly need of others to situate me in a history. But while I no longer feel as I did in the first year—that I must be marked [...]
Rogue ophthalmologist Rand Paul has been a disheveled weirdo for the entirety of his political career, because the apple does not fall far from the tree of liberty, but last night he won the hearts of many people on Twitter because he was up most of the night reading blogs aloud as part of a filibuster against Barack Obama's pick for the new CIA chief. (The last CIA chief resigned over sexting.)
The moral issue of drone assassins is very important, and there are obvious constitutional and police-state issues both domestically and internationally, but this is less a political shift than a technological evolution. Remotely controlled flying war machines [...]
"I felt really bad when I saw all the non-coverage this morning." —Yup. That's an actual comment on the New York Times' public editor blog today. Meet the one person who felt "really bad" not having 9/11 in her face this morning.
"I was just in awe that we were at the Coliseum. I've made movies for about 20 years and I've done a lot of things, but that one really stands out.… I mean, who gets to have sex on the Coliseum floor?" —Porn star Mr. Marcus looks back at his experience (on September 16th, 2001!) of surreptitiously filming Gangbang Girl #32 on the field of the Los Angeles Coliseum. OJ Simpson wore number no. 32 when he played at the Coliseum for the USC Trojans, which I guess is why the movie was called that. This story just keeps getting more and more macabre. Also: "The plot of [...]
"He said there had been 50 other similar incidents across the country that day." —That's the most striking sentence in this account of being detained by Homeland Security on a plane on Sunday, written by a woman who sat next to two Indian dudes who needed to pee. According to one FBI officer, at least 50 flights had passengers who saw something stupid and said something stupid, so some Americans got handcuffed and detained. We only even hear about a few of them.
"As art tends to require the passage of time, it could also be that Scarborough's song is just the first in a series of more reflective cultural examinations of the last 10 years. Such works cannot change the last decade, cannot bring back brave soldiers, but they can offer hope that the years will bring greater understanding. As Scarborough concludes: 'At the end of the hour / When I'm drained of all power / I still find the reason to believe.'" —UH, TV TALKING HEAD JOE SCARBOROUGH WROTE A 9/11 SONG. (He used to be a lawyer in a band, you know, back in the day.) And THEN [...]