I have nothing to say about the Foley/page/IM stuff. I just can't find any comic angle. What's to snark about? Nothing! There is no comedy there! NEIN! NEIN MIT THE GOP HYPOCRITE JOKES!
Now that we have some distance from the 5-year-9/11 shit, I thought I'd talk about that instead. I've argued that the real problem with 9/11 is that we have never been properly allowed to grieve for it. It's funny, but the one emotion that we're really not supposed to have about 9/11 is the simplest and most obvious one: sorrow. You know, we have the heroism, the rage, the stoicism, the grittiness, the angst, the nobility, but not the sorrow. We have the sentimentalism, but that's not the same thing. I mean, the one thing you're just not "supposed" to feel about 9/11 is, sad.
For me, the best thing written about 9/11, so far, is the Portastatic record, Summer of the Shark (scroll down). Hell, this is maybe one of the best records I've ever heard, period, up there for me with The White Album and Abbey Road and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and all that shit. The reason for this is to do with the really quiet but determined way that it depicts the simple emotion of sorrow in the aftermath of 9/11. Indeed, it is the only artistic work that has to me expressed anything honest about that day, period, which is quite an achievement, given the kinds of pressures that exist to feel the "right" way about 9/11.
There are no firefighters in Summer of the Shark, no policemen -- and no terrorists. Except in the background, with the ghostly sirens. And hell, you have to take a bit on listening to the songs to even get that it's about 9/11 at all. The opening song, "Oh Come Down," makes no mention of the trauma; you only hear it by picking up cues from other songs. Like the second one, "In the Lines," which is all about trying to make a phone call to someone you're afraid might be dead: "Did you get lost?/ Or did our calls just cross/ In the lines?" Then you get to the bit where the singer gets a wrong number, and the woman who answers "starts crying": "I hope you find your friend/ I get lots of calls for him"...
That's what 9/11 was, for most people. Someone who would usually be pissed off at the wrong number, breaking down in tears because that utter stranger who's usually an annoyance... could have been killed in a totally horrible way.
And all this stuff is handled with no fanfare, no ostentation, no nothing, just the way it was. Fear, grief, confusion... there are some few lyrical and musical clunkers, I'll concede, but on the whole it is a fucking triumph. It's human in the face of inhumanity, and that is a fucking beautiful thing. ("Don't Disappear" is just amazing.) Not bad for a pop record.