Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Of Superbeings and World Turmoil

The fifth anniversary of the Attacks has passed. My tribute to one of the victims is below. As a distressing coda to the day, I willingly watched a pair of disturbing video clips that have just now been released via YouTube. A tourist from Seattle and his wife had a camcorder trained on Tower 1 after the plane smashed into it. They captured the falling bodies of the people who chose their own demise as the building burned and they choked on the smoke.

It shows them falling. It shows what was left of those who landed. It is not easy to watch. So if you can, bear witness. And remember.

One guy who remembers that day is Frank Miller, the graphic novel artist, famous for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City. He's a changed man since September 11, 2001, the day of planes slamming into the buildings, the dust of concrete and crushed bone people breathed in after the towers collapsed.

Yeah, he got it. And he gets it better than a lot of other arrogant, blathering ninnies who have confused eloquence with delusion. A couple of Miller's best lines:

One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. . . .For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die.

Wonder how ol' Marv would've handled Khalid Shaihk Mohammed?

Miller's next work is Holy Terror, Batman! where he faces al Qaeda. I've often felt that Miller touched on a lot of today's political climate and national security in The Dark Knight Returns. The rageful bellowing of the Mutant Leader sounds an awful lot like what is passing for meaningful dialogue among the progressive left. The Joker casually mentioning that he's going to kill everyone in the audience of the talk show where he's appearing has lots in common with this guy. And the Mayor of Gotham City: Appeaser in Chief.

The whole story is dire, from the opening panel of the first book to the final page of the fourth one. . .with a twist at the end, though. I'll admit that I couldn't sleep after reading the third book. (SPOILER ALERT) The Joker's mass murder of the talk show audience, the poisoning of the Cub Scouts at a fair (from tainted cotton candy he'd handed out), his grisly suicide in a tunnel of love as Batman slowly bleeds to death in the dark as a SWAT team makes its way in to arrest him: all like a microcosm of world turmoil.

I remember that same feeling five years ago yesterday. The images, the smoke, the terror of the faces of people watching the towers burn, the gaped mouths and wide eyes as they fled massive rolling boulders of dust and metal after the buildings collapsed.

And the bodies. The falling bodies. And now today seeing the pink scars on the concrete.

There's one line in Dark Knight that I think fits the War on Terror. When Batman and his new Robin (the smartassed Carrie Kelley) descend on the fair and he surveys the scene of death the Joker has left, he says, "It ends tonight, Joker."

Unfortunately, this war may never end. But at some point, when all the appeasers end up with slit throats, when all the mainstream media arrogance gets about-faced at gunpoint, when all the braying from those who say they want peace and the head of the President on a truncheon gets silenced but not by the ones they think are the real enemy, then the war will have to end.

And it may end in a dark place.

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