Jewish World Review Sept. 6, 2002 / 29 Elul, 5762
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The Pennysaver hasn't come out with a commemorative issue yet. The October Teen People appears to be 9-11 free.
But everywhere else you look, this week and probably next, it's going to be 9-11. No newspaper, no news magazine, no serious think magazine can dare to let the first anniversary of the biggest, most heavily covered news event of our lives pass unnoticed.
Newsweek, Time and a special commemorative issue by U.S. News & World Report mark 9-11 by concentrating on the past year and focusing almost exclusively on where the most powerful stories and most horrific pictures were - the World Trade Center and New York City.
Maybe next week we'll look to the future and get more stuff about the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.
But for now, Time and Newsweek offer scads of profiles of important or everyday people whose lives were affected by 9-11, plus amazing survivor stories, photos and dueling essays about how 9-11 did or did not change us as a people.
Newsweek, sad to say, contains nothing memorable. U.S. News' effort, "A Nation Changed," is OK. Time's package, by far, outshines both. Its editors obviously thought longer, harder and smarter, and they have Nancy Gibbs, the best rewrite person in the biz.
Meanwhile, this week's New Yorker is the style issue, so it must be saving its 9-11 extravaganza for next week. But Harper's offers "One Year Later," one of its trademark essays - impenetrable, metaphor-dense and multi-pointed - that seems to scold America for thinking it's so special.
Reason magazine, ever faithful to its pursuit of free minds and free markets, offers "What Price Safety?: Security and Freedom in an Age of Fear." Its four parts include editor Nick Gillespie's warning that in the War on Terror we're trading freedom for security, and getting less of both.
In the "Did 9-11 change us?" department, The Weekly Standard offers "Year One - We Didn't Change at All" by the frighteningly persuasive Charles Krauthhammer.
He says it didn't change us a drop. We're the same old goofy, vulgar, farcical, smart-ass, productive, resourceful, brave, smart and above-all resilient folks we've always been - as evidence, everything from the advent of the Osbournes to the new form of 21st-century warfare we took to so well in Afghanistan.
Over at the once-influential but now invisible New Republic, one piece whines that 9-11 hasn't transformed every other American into a fiendish foreign-policy expert on the Pakistani-Indian struggle over Kashmir, as if it would matter.
Far better is literary editor Leon Wieseltier's essay about the difference between the unreal reality of Sept. 11 and "September 11," the media-made remembrance of it.
Wieseltier's piece is riddled with savvy sarcasm and perceptive sentences such as, "It was a measure of the horror (of 9-11) that the media were too weak to interfere with our consciousness of it."
And, after a national week of 9-11 rehashing, we'll know what he meant when he predicted that "The bathos of Aaron Brown and Diane Sawyer and Peter Jennings and Barbara Walters, the moistening eyes and the bitten lips and the plangent sighs, the slumming with the ordinary folk, will be very hard to take."
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