Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Draining 9/11 of Meaning

Wilfred M. McClay, a frequent contributor to COMMENTARY, has published an essay about the commemoration of 9/11 in National Affairs that is, in a word, magnificent. (It works in tandem with the wonderful Edward Rothstein essay in the New York Times to which I linked on Saturday.) Both concern the conversion of a crime, an act of war, and an act of mass murder into a meaningless “tragedy” drained of national or ideological or existential ramifications. McClay:

If one were talking only about the tragically lost lives of some 3,000 individuals and nothing else — as if their lives had been lost in a single giant plane crash or auto accident, or as the result of a random psychopathic act — there would be no way of justifying the lavish expense of or the political drama surrounding this memorial. What makes September 11th worthy of public memorializing is that it was not just a tragedy in the lives of these individuals and their families. It was an event that, like all great historical events, cannot be understood if viewed only through the eyes of those who experienced it. But when a spokesman for New York mayor Michael Bloomberg explained his decision to exclude all clergy from the tenth-anniversary observance, he emphasized the mayor’s view that the service should stay focused on the families of the victims. This view is sadly, and ominously, myopic.

Read McClay’s essay. And weep.

 



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.