Happened to the War?
Anybody seen the war lately? I could have sworn it was around
We endlessly heard the pundits tell us how everything had
changed in the days since September 11. America, they said,
would never be the same again. The pampered, shallow lives
that we enjoyed just last summer were over and no one knew
when they would return if ever. From that day on there would
be war and an open-ended struggle that was going to last years
and involve every American.
For the first few weeks of the war the networks bombarded
us with news of bombing campaigns and the progress of our
supposed allies as they captured the formerly Taliban controlled
areas. But the interest always seemed contingent upon achieving
a tangible goal - the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden
(and only Bin Laden seems to inspire the public - I'm sorry
but Mullah Omar just doesn't cut it, I mean he's got nowhere
near the star power of OBL - we have enough crooked dictatorial
clerics of our own). Now that it seems that OBL has gotten
away the punditocracy has little to talk about. Within the
past month the conflict has dropped off everybody's radar
screen. Does anybody give a damn about the transitional government
taking over in Kabul?
Right now the only thing the media can seem to talk about
war-wise is the doofus kid from Marin County who stumbled
into it while trying to find himself. We learned about his
itinerary, his new haircut and even met his parents. It's
like the media needs an American face to put on the war even
if it's associated with the other side.
The war, quite frankly, has been a ratings bust. And the
lack of interest has turned the public and media attention
The football playoffs are getting more attention than the
Michael Jordan is getting more attention than the war.
A belly-up energy company is getting more attention than
A movie about a wizard and a movie about hobbits both got
more attention than the war.
I mean the freaking Golden Globe awards got more attention
than the war!!! You got that? The Golden Globes - one of the
great "Who Cares" events of this or any year got more media
attention than the goddamn war. The morning after the GG's
there were news stories about the Australians who won awards
and film clips of the inevitable cleavage parade that always
precedes such events but scant mention of the war.
Chandra and Gary are even sneaking back into the news. Isn't
this where we came in?
The Winter Olympics are starting soon. Unless Bin Laden turns
up as a competitor in the luge I have a feeling that the great
War on Terror is going to be pushed even further from the
public consciousness. In reality very little has changed since
September 11 and with each passing week the effects of that
horrible event fade further into the background of American
life. The sympathy for the survivors of the attack has even
begun to fade as many of them have seemed rather greedy in
their attitude toward the federal compensation they will receive.
By the way is it just me or does anybody else wish that Lisa
Beamer would get the hell off the TV screen and go back to
living her life as quietly as possible. I mean we're all sorry
about her husband but was it entirely necessary to send pictures
of her new baby to the Today show within minutes of the birth
and do the Larry King Show a couple of days later? Fifteen
minutes, Lisa. Enough already!
I mean wasn't this supposed to be the defining moment of
a couple of generations? Wasn't this supposed to show us what
the X-ers and the Y-ers and maybe even the Boomers were really
made of? Wasn't this their rendezvous with destiny? If so
it looks like they've decided to pass. Has anybody seen any
lines outside the recruiting office? It sure looks like kids
raised on MTV and the internet have no interest in battling
any gun-toting evildoers.
Most of the flags that adorned houses and cars were quietly
put away some time ago. The red, white and blue lapel ribbons
are gone. The religious revival that the attacks were supposed
to generate was one of the biggest busts. There was a brief
spike in church attendance but it was only a couple of weeks
before things returned to normal. The average American is
as involved in this war as they are in the "war on drugs."
So, sadly, September 11 was in reality the day that really
didn't change all that much after all. Right now people just
seem more concerned about Super Bowl Sunday.