Friday, September 11, 2009


Peggy Noonan has essentially given over her column this week to college kids who were middle schoolers when 9/11 happened. I don't feel like unleashing a whole lot of snark on them.

I will say that Noonan isn't exactly like the wingnuttier right-wingers with regard to 9/11. They carefully cultivate and savor their anger, determined to enjoy it to the fullest and never to let it die. What Noonan wants to preserve is her own sadness:

It is eight years since 9/11, and here is an unexpected stage of grief: fear that the ache will go away. I don't suppose it ever will, but grieving has gradations, and "horror" becomes "absorbed sadness." Life moves on, and wants to move on, which is painful for those who will not forget and cannot be comforted. Part of the spookiness of life, part of its power to disorient us, is not only that people die, that they slip below the waves, but that the waves close above them so quickly, the sea so quickly looks the same.

Then again, her desire to do this seems to be linked -- or, at least during the High Bush Era, used to be linked -- to a hope that those rage-savorers would ride to her rescue.

She doesn't seem to be talking about that anymore. Partly, I guess, it's because she thinks Obama won't be her hero; partly it's that she realized sometime in the previous administration's declining years that Bush & Co. weren't going to rescue her, either.

It may also be that she doesn't really weep as much anymore, even though she wants to. Now, I don't blame anyone for whom the 9/11 wound is as raw as it was eight years ago -- but I do think there's an idea in America that wounds like this aren't supposed to scar over, that it's actually a bad thing if emotional healing takes place.

I don't understand that -- healing isn't the same as forgetting. It's OK. If you're resilient, that doesn't mean the terrorists have won.

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