Not long after 9-11 I came up with a gag. It starts with King Kong getting loose, climbing to the top of the Empire State Building and swatting at airplanes. He’s knocked down and captured and chained ( you probably see where this is going because I started off talking about 9-11) then it cuts to two airplanes hitting the twin towers…then cuts to Kong being released and sent back to the top of the Empire State building to swat at future airplanes. A decent gag. I procrastinated for awhile, not because of “too soon”, but because I didn’t feel like trying to draw the Empire State Building. By the time I got around to it and was doing research on that building and Kong…I stumbled across a similar gag. These things happen, great minds think alike…so do warped minds.
I tell you that story as evidence of the stark futility of trying to have a lasting effect on this country and it’s culture. It took little time at all from us being rattled by it, to not being able to write jokes about it fast enough.
I remember the mood directly after 9-11. It was tense, and strange. People were angry and frightened. There was also a sense of unity. We do plenty of hating each other in this country, but when push comes to shove…it’s like someone screwing with your family. YOU can call your brother or sister any vile name you can think of, but if someone ELSE does…they better start running.
All that trepidation, anger, fear, and unity lasted about 3 months.
We sold a lot of flags, t-shirts, and bumper stickers. We made urinal cakes with Bin Laddens face on them.
We sent the military to evaporate anything that even smelled like it might be connected to the attack.
And before you knew it we were back to arguing among ourselves about American Idol and the few who still gave a sh*t were arguing about whether or not it was an inside job.
That says something about us that could be argued is good or bad.
Here is the good- much expense, planning and scheming went into that attack. 20 some a-holes killed themselves in it’s perpetration…and here we are in 2015 not really giving a flying f*ck. All their effort and sacrifice, that they dreamed would bring the U.S. to it’s knees, amounted to throwing a bucket of red dye into the ocean.
Some will say it is because we have a short attention span, are vapid, or obsessed with materialism and entertainment, or because we are oblivious to danger. I would argue it is the opposite. The U.S. is a dangerous place all by itself. We are not oblivious to danger…we are so steeped in danger that if we stopped for any meaningful amount of time for every bad thing that happens, we’d never get anything done. For that matter there isn’t one thing you can do to us we haven’t already done to ourselves. We have been through hell. We have fought war after war, we have seen violence in the form of war, riots, crime, serial killers, mass shootings ( remember columbine? …barely right? How about the guy in Texas up in the bell tower?…look it up). 600,000 Americans died ain our civil war…and we are still not completely in agreement on what it was about, whether or not it was over slavery. We shoot each other in Movie theaters (Batman ), run over each other with tanks (Waco) Set off a nuke? a dirty bomb? been there, done that, it was Three Mile Island, which hardly anyone remembers. And when we are not killing each other, mother nature is. For sheer land mass and ecological diversity, no one comes CLOSE to the U.S. We can get a hurricane one week, a tornado the next, massive forest fires, Earthquakes, withering heat waves, city stopping blizzards, deadly below zero temperatures…and immediately after, go about our day completely dismayed that McDonald’s has not re-opened, because that is how we roll in this country. It is bred into us that stopping for bad things amounts to never moving forward.
Las Vegas is technically a deadly desert waste land..but one of us wanted to live in a city that was dry, so now it is a worldwide vacation spot that has water and Midwestern grass shipped in. Orlando WAS a worthless swamp…until one of decided to buy land there on the cheap and build an amusement park, so now where it was once said no building could stand for more than one rainy season…there are not enough roads to stop the traffic congestion. Parts of my own state Wisconsin, being barren and nigh frozen most of the year…supports a football team that attracts people from all 50 states, in the dead of winter, to watch grown men play a game on the “frozen Tundra”.
We don’t have a “short attention span” we simply “move the f*ck on so we can move f*cking forward. Unstable swamp land? Our engineers will figure it out. Earthquakes? We’ll build buildings on rollers so they shimmy instead of crumble. Unfarmable desert? We’ll put casinos there and import trees. Civil War? We invented the steel boats and countless medical procedures in the middle of it. WW1? trench warfare? here’s an AIRPLANE. Hitler? dead. Japan? here’s some democracy, make more Hello Kitty toys so my daughter shuts the f*ck up for ten minutes. Is the moon made of cheese? nope, we know because the Nazi’s the rest of the world was about to be enslaved by, we captured and made them build our rockets so we could stick our flag on the G*DDAMN MOON. Fly a plane into the twin towers? We’d love to sit and be poetically morose longer but we have to invent the Iphone and send some robots to Mars, and we might as well get started finding a cure for ebola…since no one else is going to bother to, busy as the rest of the world always is, dwelling on the past.
There isn’t anything you can do to us that we won’t steamroll right over, before the next season of our favorite show comes on. And why are we waiting for out favorite show to come on? …Because your violence bores the living sh*t out of us. Your best attempt amounts to a four year old explaining how he learned to ride a bike. That’s great kid…let me pretend I am impressed because it’s all new and fantastic to you. Given the grand scale of events this country has been center stage for, lived through and moved on…their little fit of flying a plane into a building…frankly I am surprised it got more than a week of news coverage. If they had completely taken over the state of New York it wouldn’t have been long before the other 49 states breathed a sigh or relief that they wouldn’t have to hear ” New York New York” by Sinatra ever again or seen the Yankees in the World Series. Others would be grateful they can cross “see the Statue of Liberty” off their “bucket list” because flying into New York and staying in a hotel was just too much money.
We are the citizens of a big, badass country, that has done big, badass things, and is constantly fighting to live up to it’s past and , for that matter, outdo itself. Anyone who is disheartened by our “short attention span” needs to realize that disposition is what sets us ahead of the vast majority of the rest of the globe.
All that is`easily overlooked/masked by how much time/emphasis we devote to being entertained. Yeah, we care more about entertainment, video games, and sports than the rest of the world…because the rest of the world still thinks inventing stuff is a challenge. The things the rest of the world thinks is “special” i.e. curing disease, inventing, overcoming nature itself…we just look at as our 9-5 job, and at 5pm we want to think about something else. If you really wanted to put a dent in the U.S.A. on 9-11 you would have found a super star pop singer and entered her in American Idol, because Kelly Clarkson is still on the radio twice an hour, and we only think about 9-11 once a year.
….as for the King Kong page, a little later I came up with this gag (see pic below). More or less sums up what I already said.
(coupon code “triptank” is good for 20% off at our online store, www.arseniclullabies.com/store buy something because the 6.00 a gallon gas that 9-11 caused is killing me…oh wait…I forgot, we figured out how to break through solid bedrock to get more oil in North Dakota, so Gas never did get to 6.00 a gallon. Well…spend some money anyway, I need a new mp3 player, if I have to listen to regular radio all this Kelly Clarkson is going to drive me bats)
As for the terrorists who flew the planes into the twin towers, I would tell them to “rot in hell”, but I am busy trying to figure out how to download Fear The Walking Dead. It’s a show about some mass epidemic that destroys the nation…it’s fiction of course, and absurd, since we beat Yellow Fever and Polio before we even had calculators.
(for more words of wisdom my non-comic book related thoughts are at www.astrangersvoice.com )