Friday, 23 February 2007

The next Twin Towers - the next headline

Every couple of days over the past few weeks I have experienced what I can only describe as a “weird” feeling while watching television. It is a creepy, hair stand up on the back of your neck sort of weird.
Let me explain. My wife and I are slowly working our way through the entire 10 seasons of the hugely successful sit-com “Friends.”
If we are not attending some function or working on other projects, the evening will eventually see us head to the sofa with some after dinner munchies, beer, and the remote control.
It has only been about 12 years since “Friends” first aired on NBC, but my oh my, how the world has changed. The scriptwriters obviously didn’t intend it, but watching Chandler boast about the power of his laptop and an internet connection speed of 28k, triggered a “get out of here” guffaw and the sort of nostalgia that a retiree has for their days in university. I am not sure, but I don’t think mobile phones made their appearance until the end of the second series, and it was a trip down memory lane to hear Rachel bemoan the loss of her walkman. How did they survive without iPods!!
But this step back into recent, but still so familiar technological history isn’t the cause of the weird feeling. What is it that makes me wish I could turn the clock back, and gives me such angst for the future? It is the all too frequent shots of the Twin Towers. In the segueways from one scene to another, as the camera pans across a New York cityscape, I find myself looking for them.
Seeing them standing there, dominating the skyline, reminds me of a time when we thought a “beeper” was cool and the world seemed like a safer place.
Of course we still see pictures of the Twin Towers all the time, but these days they are mostly the focus of a report or documentary. They have passenger jets crashing into them. Seeing them simply as a backdrop in a sit-com, the familiar silhouette, they have a comfortable, reassuring permanence about them. But like the cassette-walkman, beepers and a 28K dial-up connection, they are gone. Still familiar, but gone.
The world in those days wasn’t a safer place, I just need to read though the articles and commentaries I wrote during that period to bring me back to some sort of reality. But as bad as it was, I can’t shake off the feeling that pre-9/11 can’t compare to the present in terms of the perils we face.
The future scares me. Not because I am often left behind by the rapid advances in technology. Just when I get used to something, get confident, I suddenly find myself essentially using a bow and arrow against a light-saber. That doesn’t bother me. I am good with a bow and arrow.
I am outraged about the hatred that led to the loss of the Twin Towers, the stupidity and lies, the failed policies, and the arrogance that led to the hatred that led to the loss of the Twin Towers. I used to write about these things.
Facilitated by the advances in technology; the hatred, the stupidity, the lies, the failed policies and the arrogance overwhelm us with such speed, that one day we are taking the Twin Towers for granted, and the next they are a headline.
And I am still writing about it and wondering, where is the next headline?

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