The End of the post-9/11 Era?

Reason magazine recently declared the “end of the post-9/11 era” citing a story linking Zsa Zsa Gabor with Anna Nicole Smith after the latter's death. 

Hard to argue with that.  The whole media frenzy around the Anna Nicole Smith death the other day shows that we're truly back to the way things were on September 10, 2001.  Therefore, I would encourage you to tell everyone you know that's it's over – no more saying “it's a different world now” or talk of terrorists and “threats to our liberty.”  No more of any of this (a person can dream, right?) 

So why does the death of a Marilyn Monroe-wannabe signify the end of the “post 9/11 era?”  ThinkProgress reports that “NBC’s Nightly News devoted 14 seconds to Iraq compared to 3
minutes and 13 seconds to Anna Nicole. CNN referenced Anna Nicole 522%
more frequently than it did Iraq. MSNBC was even worse — 708% more
references to Anna Nicole than Iraq.” 

This, on a day that included “the sixth downing of a US helicopter in the past three weeks, allegations that a deputy Iraqi health minister was aiding a Shiite militia in its attacks against U.S. troops, and the death of four Marines.”  That's not even touching the recent story that the US Military shipped $12 billion in cash (link to a Daily Show clip, ie. worth watching) to Iraq and somehow managed to lose track of it.  <Dr. Evil voice> Twelve BILL-ion!</Dr. Evil>

Larry King summed it up: “The death of Anna Nicole Smith is the number one story around the world tonight.”   Yes, it is Larry.  Yes, it is.  (That first link might be disturbing for some people.  I know it is for me.)

Comments 7

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    On the heals of that Boston fiasco? I don't think so. I agree with your analysis of the news over the last couple of days, but unfortunately Boston has just taught us that Americans are as scared as ever of terrorists (which, remember, were the true cause of the WTC destruction, not Iraqis)

    Posted 10 Feb 2007 at 3:57 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    There's a heavy dose of tongue-in-cheek with this post but I still think the underlying idea that the majority of people in the US (and beyond) are finally ready to get past the constant fear/my country, right or wrong/America, the Beautiful rhetoric of the past five years is a legitimate one.
    If the Boston fiasco had been an isolated incident (as I thought it was when I first heard about it), I'd think that yeah, the rules of the past four years were still being applied. But then I found out (as I'm sure you know too – there was lots of coverage on Digg) that those same “terrorist devices/guerilla marketing tools” were on display in nine other American cities and didn't cause a peep in any of them. Scorecard:
    Still 9/11 Era = 1
    Post 9/11 Era = 9
    So what Boston has taught us is that *Boston authorities* are as afraid of terrorists as ever while many other major US metropolitian areas's citizens and administrators (including New York's) are finally getting on with their lives in a real and meaningful way that doesn't include seeing boogeymen in every blinking sign that depicts a cartoon character giving passing motorists the finger.
    The fact that the Boston authorities (and many in the media) are calling this incident a “hoax” instead of what it was – a marketing stunt – shows how much egg they have on their faces. A hoax is intended to deceive – there is no evidence the people who did this intended people to think the devices were bombs or anything nefarious (the devices were in plain view, they showed a cartoonish-character raising its index finger, they looked like Lite Brite for godssake – definitely not the traditional modus operandi of the terrorist.)
    I know Iraq had no relation to 9/11 but what I was saying is that the US Administration created a continuum (no matter how baseless) between the two that has affected how the majority of people in (North) American society act/react. Colour-coded terror alerts (where did those go? They were almost daily leading up to the 2004 Presidential Election!). Taking shoes off at airports. Racial profiling.
    But now, things like the non-reaction of people in a bunch of cities (except Boston) to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force “bomb scare” combined with the over-reaction of people to the Anna Nicole Smith death, tells me that we're on a path back to the way things were in the years leading up to September 11. More formal signals (but equally as meaningful as pop culture indictators) such as the Democrat romp in the 2006 mid-term elections, George W. Bush having the lowest recorded approval rating of any sitting US President in history, and the groundswell of support for Barak Obama tell me this might be the end of the 9/11 era too.
    It's a whole other debate as to whether this is a good state for society to find itself in and frankly, it's probably just as bad in its own way. But I'd rather worry about the stupid minutia of celebrity lives like who Brangelina are adopting and where Posh Spice is moving then have to give up a sealed bottled water when I go to the airport just because I might have someone managed to fill it with butane. Or live in fear that every box with a wire coming out of it might be a bomb. Otherwise, cell phones, laptops and pretty much everything else we use in our daily lives might as well be illegal too because I think it'd be much easier to hide a bomb in a cell phone than in a blatant blinking light show in an underpass.

    Posted 11 Feb 2007 at 6:42 am
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    I tend to agree with Quinn. Look at the rhetoric out of the US administration this past week – they are starting to beat the war drum this time with Iran instead of Iraq (although all the arguments are the same – state sponsor of terror, seeking WMD, has a malicious dictator). Nothing shoots up Bush (both Sr. and Jr.) approval ratings like wars in the mid-east.

    Posted 13 Feb 2007 at 7:25 am
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Whoah!! I can't remember if I wrote that or there's a different Mike who posts here. The odds are pretty good either way.
    And if it wasn't me, which one of us is the imposter?
    Er. Carry on.

    Posted 13 Feb 2007 at 3:38 pm
  5. Anonymous wrote:

    I suppose that only time (hopefully a mercifully brief time) will tell whether the sabre-rattling in the White House is channeling American psyche or just a desperate attempt to recapture former glory.
    It really wouldn't surprise me if Bush Jr's staff is so bereft of ideas and creativity that they can only copy what worked before (which was a copy of worked before, more or less, for Bush Sr.). He's not really into the whole “vision thing”.

    Posted 13 Feb 2007 at 3:49 pm
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    Mike T, that was Mike M. (at FIMS) who posted. But I do like the fact that you weren't sure if you'd posted or not! (Don't tell him I said this but you're the original though – he's the imposter having only recently outed himself as a blog reader and having made (I think) his first comment.)
    Name badges for all, I say!

    Posted 13 Feb 2007 at 4:47 pm
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    I'd make the same argument that I made in response to Quinn. The US Administration at its highest levels (President and his inner circle) are as out of touch with the general feeling of the people as the Boston authorities who over-reacted to the Lite Brite in their city. But unlike Boston's authorities who meant no harm, I get the sense that the US Administration actively still thinks they are (or worse, “still wants to be”) in a post-9/11 era, even as an increasing number of their citizens are realising Iraq was a futile (and worse, completely misguided) exercise.
    A vast majority of the American citizenry is finally tired of the Iraq War (I'm too lazy to Google the stats on this but it's true – trust me! ) and Bush is calling for a troop surge? Unbelievable.
    I think the Iran thing would probably lead to revolt (finally) instead of increased approval ratings. To paraphrase another of Bush's infamous sayings: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, holy crap, would you quit it already?”
    The other issue was Putin's recent remarks about the US's imperial ambitions on the world stage. Some commentators have observed that the sub-text to that message was “We let you go wild in Iraq but if you go into Iran, we might end up on their side because we can't let you control the entire world.”

    Posted 13 Feb 2007 at 4:58 pm
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