Fiction and Non-Fiction in Manhattan
I have been absent since my computer blew up on April 15. The problem is unresolved, and in synchronicity with the Boston Marathon Bombings, there has been no need to comment: I assure you, every single, solitary thought, conspiracy theory, paranoia, factoid and opinion — informed and un — have filled the airwaves and packet exchanges ever SINCE that date, so my absence has been a burden on none.
But now breaks the wind … er, news, that the TERRORIST BROTHERS WERE HEADED FOR TIMES SQUARE!
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is telling authorities he and his brother, Tamerlan, learned how to make bombs from Al Qaeda’s online magazine, which recommends using fireworks. Officials say Tamerlan bought fireworks in New Hampshire before the bombing…
Ah, but it gets worse:
The Big Story
Police: Boston suspects planned to attack New York
By COLLEEN LONG and JENNIFER PELTZ — Apr. 25 8:44 PM EDT
NEW YORK (AP) — The Boston Marathon bombers were headed for New York’s Times Square to blow up the rest of their explosives, authorities said Thursday, in what they portrayed as a chilling, spur-of-the-moment scheme that fell apart when the brothers realized the car they had hijacked was low on gas. “New York City was next on their list of targets,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said….
And the parade of the hand-wringing went on through the Thursday dusk.
Except that this so-called attack plan is a fantasy from the mind of a dazed 19-year-old alleged mass murderer.
It is interesting, perhaps, even possibly true that it was TALKED about, and explains the deadly gore of a Keystone Kops evening beginning with the murder of an MIT policeman for a gun they couldn’t get out of his holster, then a carjacking, the decision to drive to drive to Times Square in Manhattan, the discovery that the car was low on gas, the escape of the hostage at the gas station, etc.
Except that the so-called plot was, AT BEST, a momentary impulse, a thought. The PLAN TO ATTACK MANHATTAN has no more substance or reality than the millions of imaginary babies crazed Amerikans justify murder, bombings and arson in the name of. Or of Santa Clause, whom millions have dressed as, pretending to be the myth0logical figure.
Which is where non-fiction (the madness of the media pack straining to get “scoops”) turns into purest fiction.
Now they are writing about “the planned ATTACK ON NEW YORK!”
How eerily coincidental that all this happens on the very day of the Dedication of the George W. Bush Prezudenshul Liberry at SMU (giving this TCU alum a certain mild Mustang schadenfreude, unless, of course, they’re “proud” of the 1984-ish exhibit, which managed to omit any mention of Iraq among four past and present Presidents and the Usurper himself and his Mommy).
Official Dubya Liberry Commemorative Coloring Book
Ahead of the liberry’s opening, only two books were available
and “the Decider” hadn’t finished coloring the second one.
But this is the danger we fall into, as the “narrative” (a term whose fundamental premises — in this usage — I profoundly disagree with) shifts from reconstructions of fact into squalid brays of self-righteous fantasy.
This was what produced the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Sekurity (a term that still sets my teeth on edge and takes me back to Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here), and, just BTW, an ILLEGAL and IMMORAL, UNCONSCIONABLE and UNJUSTIFIABLE INVASION OF IRAQ.
We are the prisoners of a broken epistemology, where facts and fancy are woven together unashamedly to create the “reality” desired by the weavers.
Oh, and NPR is reporting (mere weeks late) that the Koch Brothers might be buying the Los Angeles Times from Sam Zell, who snapped up the Tribune Company (parent company of WGN, the Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Tribune, etc. etc.) which had, in turn, bought the Times Mirror Company (parent company of the LA Times) from the Chandler family, as in the “Dorothy Chandler Pavilion” where several Academy Awards have been held, etc. etc.
A nineteen year old kid tells the FBI various things and New York City reacts to the imaginary attack the same way a “pro-life” fanatic reacts to an imaginary baby. Or that Faux Nooz reacts to anything Muslim/Middle-Eastern/Arab/Immigrant/non-Fascist.
Beware: it is in this stew of raw emotions and bad fiction that Patriot Acts are foisted on us. When we lose sight of the difference between the real and the imagined, we become the slaves of anyone with a microphone and a slick story to tell.
It is like what happens when some nasty little teenage goon decides to take a can of black spray paint and tag the local synagogue with a giant swastika.
The reality — a teenage stunt, a semi-normal misdemeanor — is conflated with the memory of a symbol, and guest editorials loudly thump their chests for weeks thereafter as a general rule. Was the root cause antisemitism, or was the root cause the kind of stupid prank teenagers the world over are prone to? I can’t say (even if it IS my hypothetical and I OUGHT to know), but it is always the former conclusion leapt to, which is, in many cases, a fantasy created by the mind of the viewer, and not a communiqué from the spray-can of the prankster.
Now: young fellow is in deep trouble and talking to the FBI (who are, evidently, leaking the details of that interview to the media) and suddenly the Mayor of New York and the Police Chief are holding press conferences about Big Apple Security and about WHY any self-respecting terrorist would NATURALLY target New York.
Fig. 1: this is not a pipe bomb
Fig. 2: this is not the Big Apple
Because, quoth Mr. Ban on Soft Drinks for your OWN GOOD Authoritarian, New York City is “iconic.”
Nope. The media are headquartered there, and the unadulterated voltage of sheer narcissism has the ability to white-out any other event, as the bombed survivors of the Pentagon suicide plane and everyone else on the face of Planet Earth learned on 9-12-01.
Trust me: in what is coming, the ability to tell the difference between what is REAL and what is fantasy may well be the difference between life and death, all the Santa Claus suits in the universe notwithstanding.
And back to cyber-limbo. I’ll be back as soon as I can.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog