As you may have noticed – I have a passing interest in collecting memorabilia about the Titanic that might be considered to be in dubious taste by reasonable people such as yourself. You know the sort of thing: skeleton crew member moneyboxes, inflatable bath-time icebergs etc. But today being the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, it is an opportune time to see if the same process of a “disaster” becoming a “historical event” (and thus be a suitable target for bad taste) was overtaking 9/11 in the same way it had the sinking of the Titanic.
What more reliable way than doing this than looking to see if bad taste memorabilia is being made and sold? It is. When I first visited New York in the 1980s I didn’t bother going up the World Trade Centre – to me they were just tall buildings that were an affront to the majesty of the Empire State. The second time I went, there were visitors smiling, having there photo taken at Ground Zero. I bought a snow globe of the Twin Towers complete with fire engines and the words “We Shall Never Forget”. I could only assume the ‘snow’ represented the masses of papers that floated over Manhattan after the attack. Now I’m not sure if this showed gross insensitivity in the desire to make a buck, or if it was just another example of cultural differences between our countries that make twee into tasteless. Anyway my snow storm has been joined this year by the ‘We Shall Never Forget 9/11 Kids Colo[u]ring Book’ If you buy your children a copy, make sure you’ve got plenty of blood red felt tips for the picture of Osama Bin Laden getting machine gunned to death. The text explains what was going on:
“Children, the truth is these terrorist acts were done by freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim (sic) extremists. These crazy people hate the American way of life because we are FREE…”
Free to exercise their right to bare arms? I hope as Americans remember the 3000 people who died in the Twin Towers, they also think about the 270,000 fellow citizens who have been shot by each other since 2001. Which reminds me, you can still download (for free) my little book ‘The Machine Gunners’.