That first crisp day in September we were all watching the same thing on television, but it wasn’t happening then, rather it had been prerecorded. Live action is much more compelling than its videotaped cousin, so they were fooling us when they could.
I remember watching TV when I was a kid when dramatic shows were live, and if the actors forgot their lines, you could hear someone off-camera whisper the line until the actor could pick it up again. Those days before videotape I watched Pinky Lee have his heart attack as he danced wildly for laughing children, and I saw Jack Ruby shoot Oswald. I saw it happen right in front of me.
As we watched the collapse of World Trade Center Building Seven, the announcer made it seem like it was happening right now, but he was unaware of the embarrassing fact that another network had reported the collapse of this building a half hour earlier. So some of us knew the fix was on. We were being lied to by our newscasters. No doubt they were being lied to and pressured by people who could have them fired or arrested. Dangerous times.
The initial reports of the explosions on the towers failed to mention an airplane, just explosions, and people interviewed on the street below the twin towers neglected to mention a plane, as well. Within a half hour that all changed, and everyone started talking about the plane they saw, but they were talking about what they saw on television. In the years since, most of us have seen those planes hit the buildings a thousand times, but with each intervening year, the special effect seems cheesier.
If you watch the original King Kong movie, or Rodan, the creature’s movement seems laughable. But not so when these films premiered. Maybe someday, hopefully soon, the airplane impact effects that seemed so convincing fifteen years ago will elicit general laughter. “Whom do they think they’re kidding?”
By then George W and Dick Cheney will be comfortably retired in Paraguay.
Witnesses interviewed shortly after the twin tower collapse talked about seeing molten steel pouring out of the buildings for a good half hour before they collapsed, but in the days afterward we never saw those interviews again. Firemen talked about huge amounts of molten gold in the basements of the towers, and how that had to be allowed to cool for days before it could be retrieved. The site was off limits for weeks, people who had lived nearby and were evacuated, not allowed to return for ten days, found that their apartments had been ransacked during the interval, computers taken and never returned.
By the time the internet grew more omnipresent, and YouTube videos became ubiquitous, the American people were already sick of hearing conspiracy theories. It was the JFK assassination all over again. Nobody wanted to hash through another decade or so of alternative explanations for something most of us would rather forget.
Besides, we were at war. A War on Terror. Our enemies hate us for our freedoms so it’s bombs away all over again. Teaching towelheads who’s boss is a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Mission Accomplished.
The obfuscation of the 9/11 Commission report seems obvious, the lies blatant, yet most continue to accept the official explanation because creating and examining an alternative requires too much effort. The conspiracy videos on YouTube are often amateurish, repetitive, lacking production value. We’re already tired of the narrative and the cast of characters is neither cute nor compelling.