Which picture, you ask?
Don’t get annoyed. It’s really not a big deal. I mean, nobody has seen this photo, right?
This may be one of the most famous photographs from the immediate post-9/11 era. Hell, it might be one of the most well-known pictures of all time. Naturally, that means it was almost left out of the memorial.
Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.
for a moment, let’s take Shulan’s stupidity on stilts at face value. Even if the picture is just too damn patriotic for the type of dainty chest-waxing liberal who runs around calling himself a creative director, that doesn’t change the fact that the photo exists. Not only does it exist, but it captures one of the defining moments of that time. To exclude it from the official WTC memorial, especially for such sniffy taste-specific reasons, would be an act of censorship. Funny, I thought the vaunted creative community was against putting limits on the truth.
So how does Shulan think the United States should present itself to the world?
“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said.
Translation: “Love of country is soooooooo passe.”
Oh but wait, Michael Shulan isn’t done:
“My concern, as it always was, is that we not reduce [9/11] down to something that was too simple, and in its simplicity would actually distort the complexity of the event, the meaning of the event,” he said.
Showing the US flag being raised over the rubble of the World Trade Center is ‘simplistic’.
I didn’t know the September 11th terrorist attack was such a complicated event. Quick Recap: Al-Qaeda extremists, enthralled by Islamic jihadism, hijacked passenger planes and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, attempting to destroy our economy and weaken our government. In the process, 3000 innocent people were incinerated because a murderous butcher named Osama bin Laden hated the United States.
September 11th is only complicated if you perseverate on the the Noam Chomsky-lite ideology of the ‘root causes’ of terrorism. For these sorts of leftists-, America must forever wring it’s hands. The only proper thing to do in the face of something like 9/11 is for the US to abase itself in front of the nation’s most virulent haters. The conversation that begins with ‘Why do they hate us?’ must always be a closed circuit loop that ends with ‘Because we deserved it’. That what Shulan ultimately means when he wheezes about the supposed complexity of 9/11.
Here’s a hint for people looking for the meaning of 9/11.
The September 11th terrorist attacks were meant to be a direct heartfelt message from al-Qaeda to America–”Die”.
One would think Osama bin Laden’s earnest valentine of hate directed at the people of America would be pretty easy to figure out. Nihilism is not complex. Slaughtering people is not hard to discern. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
It is in our response to militant Islam’s murderous attack on America where one can find complexity. The self-sacrifice, the heroism and the ultimate survival of our nation is a tale that needs to be told. It needs to be documented and passed down from generation to generation. One really good way of documenting America’s 9/11 story would be to include a picture of the three firemen, raising an American flag in the aftermath of the worst attack on our soil.
Unless, you’re Michael Shulan, who thinks that photo is terribly gauche.
The problem is that Michael Shulan isn’t just some random dude on the street with a dopey opinion. He’s the creative director for the World Trade Center Memorial. In other words, he’s in charge of shaping our understanding of the most painful tragedy in recent times. To paraphrase Instapundit, Shulan and the people who seek to explain American culture are just not that into America.
Our elites have, at best, a fleeting affection for the country they seek to lead and define. Most of the time, the people at the core of our culture have an active disdain for America and the people who inhabit it. From the campus Marxoids to the Hollywood Limousine Jacobins to the Washington DC/New York newsmedia hub…and, sadly, the World Trade Center Memorial…the men and women who run our institutions cannot hide their annoyance with the civilizational touchstones most Americans enjoy. This isn’t healthy for our short-term culture wars or our long term survival.
If conservatives want to deal with the effete progressives snobs that man our cultural machinery, they’d better start soon. If traditionalists focused on being credible counterweights to the Michael Shulans of the world, it would do a lot to restore some balance in our society. Maybe in a few decades, we won’t have institutions that automatically despise American patriotism. That would be nice.