by tom moodyComments Off on a dish best served hot
Excerpt From Max Blumenthal's book, The Management of Savagery:
The catastrophic and catalyzing events of September 11, 2001, unfolded live on one of New York City’s top morning talk shows.
At 9:01, Howard Stern delivered a brief update about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center, gashing open the face of the tower and sending plumes of smoke into the sky. “I don’t even know how you begin to fight that fire,” he commented. Then, without missing a beat, the legendary shock jock returned to an inane yarn about his date with former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson at a seedy Midtown bar called Scores.
“I felt her butt,” Stern bragged to his randy co-hosts. A highly involved discussion ensued about his failure to “bang Pam Anderson.”
“I wasn’t gonna sit there and work it all night,” Stern explained moments before the second plane hit. Then, as soon as Tower 2 caught fire, he quipped, “I’m telling you, it was Pam Anderson’s jet.”
Minutes later, Stern’s producers began piping in audio from the local CBS affiliate, setting a traumatizing aural atmosphere that recalled Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds.” Stern apparently realized the flames were the product of a terror attack, probably by Muslim extremists. Confronted with a national calamity, he and his shrieking sidekick Robin Quivers immediately shifted gears.
“We’ve gotta go bomb everything over there,” Quivers insisted. “We’ve gotta bomb the hell out of them!” Stern added. “You know who it is. I can’t say but I know who it is. This is more upsetting than me not getting Pam Anderson!”
As the smoke engulfed lower Manhattan, Stern descended into a series of genocidal tirades. “We’ve gotta drop an atomic bomb,” he proclaimed.
“There has got to be a war,” Quivers demanded. “But a devastating war, where people die. Burn their eyes out!”
Thirty minutes later, as the news of mass civilian casualties poured in, Stern had transformed into a cartoon villain: “Now is the time to not even ask questions. To drop a few atomic bombs. Do a few chemical warfare hits! Let their people suffer until they understand!”
“Because we haven’t been bothering anybody,” Quivers interjected. “They started screaming about colonialism. We stopped.”
Moments later, Stern repeated his call for nuclear annihilation. “Blow them all to sky high!” he said. “Atom bombs! Just do it so they’re flattened out and turned into a paved road and we’ll take the oil for ourselves.”
This was not right-wing radio, but one of the consistently most highly rated morning shows in the country. Stern’s exterminationist diatribes demonstrated how deeply the neoconservative mind-set had been inculcated into mainstream American culture, how it had been simmering just below the surface of the bawdy blather that normally dominated the drive-time airwaves and was waiting to explode upon what PNAC described as “some catastrophic and catalyzing event.” [link added -tm]
I watched the second World Trade Center tower collapse from a friend's sixth floor apartment window. It was very surreal and scary: it disappeared in seconds.
I can't watch TV or listen to the radio anymore -- Day One was news; Day Two it's all platitudes and jingoism, with "America Under Attack" graphics and theme music. The 24-hr. news radio station WINS has a sickening montage they play every half hour or so, of professionally edited sound clips from yesterday: (Dirge-like musical chords under) "Oh my god, the building's collapsing!" "There were bodies falling..." "I saw people linked arm in arm..." (Little girl's voice): "Why did they have to die?" (Actually that last bit is probably from the sound library, or maybe it's the station owner's daughter.)
In an early speech, Bush referred to the terrorists as "cowards": uh, I don't think so. Those acts took nerves of steel and utter conviction that the US was an enemy.
The conservative columnist David Horowitz says "America is in denial that much of the world hates us, and will continue to hate us. Because we are prosperous, and democratic and free." They hate us, all right, but it's because we're perceived as a bully and an empire-builder; they (rightly) abhor the corruption and repression of our client states (Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, etc.). Personally, I think we just paid a price for the cynical realpolitik we've practiced in the Middle East: one minute we're propping up Saddam, the next minute he's our sworn enemy, etc. It's all about the oil, isn't it? We act like we're entitled to it, so we can drive SUVs and run our air conditioners around the clock.
Here's an interesting quote from Michael Zanini, a graduate fellow at the RAND corporation, from a Salon interview: "Bin Laden actually issued a declaration of war against the U.S. in the mid-1990s. For his organization, the larger aim is to liberate the holy sites. Their problem is the U.S. military occupation of the countries of the greater Middle East. They want the Middle East to be free of unbelievers, among other things. And they probably also have an opposition to U.S. hegemony worldwide. They've declared war, and up to this point, they've targeted government assets and infrastructure: U.S. embassies and the destroyer USS Cole. That's U.S. government property, which is what an army would target."
Another friend has been listening to the call-in shows, lest he be out of touch with the Real America: he says it's all "let's kill the towel-heads." Great.