And Poof, It’s Gone

Having chosen not to write the obligatory 9/11 mush for my own reasons, that opens the door to discussion of what this ancient history means for those who suffer the problematic, traumatic oppression today on college campuses.

After all, when one juxtaposes 9/11 with micro-aggressions, one can certainly understand why the former has faded from memory while the latter is crushing their very soul.

While the video may try to make more of students’ gestalt than it’s due, the fact is that 9/11, like all historical tragedies, has faded from reality to myth in the minds of college students.  This is as it should be. 

While many of those who were cognizant at the time will disagree (“we must never forget”), we must also move forward and not dwell on every tragedy.  Do you still take a moment of silence for December 7th?  Or perhaps February 15th? Life moves on.

But the concerns, and the language used to express those concerns, invoking violence and oppression, focus on minutiae.  The trivialities of finding something to cry about under every rock instead of actual death, pain and suffering, informs us of what a charmed life they lead.

They’ve never personally known what real suffering means, and so they confuse their slightest twinge of feeling with insufferable harm.  Young women demand that they be insulated from the trauma of reading of books that other young women survived for a hundred years. This isn’t trauma. This is hypersensitivity combined with a life that’s never been touched by harm.

How magical this nation must be that the battle being fought is over the right of every student to pick his own personal set of pronouns, reducing the idea of communication to a farce lest the use of a standardized pronoun based on genetics cause the slightest twinge of offense.

As a young man, college students protested a non-war in Vietnam, where our family, friends and neighbors came home in flag-draped coffins for a theory named after an arcane game.  We weren’t on the eve of hurt feelings, but destruction.

We fought for the right to drink a beer at 18, so suds could legally cross a young man’s lips before he died in a foreign jungle.  Today, that beer insulates a woman from the grown-up responsibility of having sex, so that she can both volitionally engage in intercourse and have the option of crying rape later if she spies the fellow kissing her rival for his affections.

As good as it may be that young people today dissociate their concerns from actual harm, actual pain, so they can rally to the cause of never having to hear a word that hurts their delicate ears, or to call an awkward attempt to kiss good-night a sexual assault.

And lest we dump this all on college students, these shams are spreading into the real world, to people who should know better, as they embrace the superficial war cries of social justice without exercising their gift of thought.  The long-hidden feelings of intense outrage over the tiniest of offenses has finally been given the opportunity to come out, to blossom, and explode.

What a wonderful world this must be that so many people feel so empowered to be so indulgent in their infantilized pettiness.  Why ruin it by speaking of death and the feeling of a body slamming to the ground from 1,368 feet up.

When young people feared death from war, they protested war. When they fear unpleasantness from hurt feelings, they protest the offensive name of a sports team.  A charmed life allows them to obsess over their gravest fears.  And they have, indeed, lived a very charmed life as 9/11 is only a distant, amorphous memory of something bad that happened to their ancestors.

11 thoughts on “And Poof, It’s Gone

  1. William Doriss

    Let the deluge of comments begin! We like that video. It’s refreshing?!?
    Some of those students may choose to enter the legal profession.
    Horrors! At least they’re “honest”. Ha.

  2. Dave

    My children were born after 9/11, so of course they don’t remember. But I think a way to make this less a distant memory is to tie a historical event to family they know or, if it is back far enough, family ancestry. For the holocaust, my dad did that with a single old family photo. For 9/11, I can tell my kids it almost made it so neither was ever born. I think such things also tend to contrast nicely with the vacuousness of worries about having to read old books and other things you mention.

    1. SHG Post author

      I was born in 1958, a mere 13 years after the end of World War II. It was ancient history to me, even though my father won two purple hearts in it.

    1. SHG Post author

      There is an outside chance that the “I don’t know” response reflects the complex moral and philosophical issues wrapped up in a sophisticated answer, but I suspect that’s not the case here.

  3. pavlaugh

    In was born in 1983, and throughout school and college we barely touched on Vietnam, the first Gulf War, and pretty much any US and world history during the 1970’s through early 1990’s. I distinctly remember not covering “recent” history in grade school, high school, and even college. In college, contemporary history ended in the 1970’s. Is it just because we ran out of time to teach every thing, or as it always seemed to me, that the teachers did not view their own life experiences as history?
    I wonder if the generation depicted in the video simply has a similar knowledge gap for events during their early childhood and in the few decades before. Perhaps later generations will be able give at least a terse response to the “Why 9/11” question — at least as much as my generation can answer “Why WW1”? (“Ugh, some guy named Ferdinand was assassinated.”)

    1. Nick

      9/11 was at the very end of my AP US history textbook (literally the final paragraphs of the last chapter iirc) when I was in high school about half a decade ago. We barely got to Vietnam in class, and only got some minimal coverage of the Carter administration during optional after school study sessions just in case it came up on the exam.

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