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"This is a museum without an ending."
June 3, 2012 9:27 AM   Subscribe

"Such are the exquisite sensitivities that surround every detail in the creation of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which is being built on land that many revere as hallowed ground. During eight years of planning, every step has been muddied with contention. There have been bitter fights over the museum’s financing, which have delayed its opening until at least next year, as well as continuing arguments over its location, seven stories below ground; which relics should be exhibited; and where unidentified human remains should rest. Even the souvenir key chains to be sold in the gift shop have become a focus of rancor. But nothing has been more fraught than figuring out how to tell the story."
posted by davidjmcgee (120 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Looking forward to the exhibit where they show the Bush Administration kicking John P O'Neill and his crazy talk about Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to the curb in early 2001.
posted by Aquaman at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2012 [24 favorites]


That the key chains are being sold at $40 a piece isn't nearly as shocking as the total lack of awareness of the full context of the pat-sounding quote inscribed on them.
posted by Bromius at 9:53 AM on June 3, 2012 [22 favorites]


To this day, I think one of the more profound memorials to 9/11 is Blue Man Group's Exhibit 13. It speaks to the breadth of the tragic event while locating it in the context of the commonplace. It evokes what many in New York City experienced on that day, while never offering any kind of editorial on the event.

The creation of this "memorial museum" sounds like a nightmare. I fear that in the end, we'll end up with something which doesn't do the service such a place should offer to generations far removed from ours -- one which gives a full story and context to something while still honoring those who died there.
posted by hippybear at 9:59 AM on June 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Everyone agrees that it is the museum’s job is to tell the truth. The question, though, is how much truth.

How much will we be permitted?

“We’re allowing them to indict themselves as mass murderers, not giving them a platform for propaganda,” she said.

I see.
posted by Trurl at 10:01 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can think of little more hideous than a Museum of Bush Era Bullshit.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on June 3, 2012 [14 favorites]


Yet nowhere on the plaza is there even a mention of the terrorist attacks that caused the destruction.

This keeps me thinking about Baurdrillard's assertion that 9/11 didn't happen. In a sense, the 9/11 museum is making 9/11 for the first time and that's the reason for all the controversy. There's no real event for people to refer to. (I mean in a public sense. 9/11 is only real to individuals and not the society). Mind-boggling. What will we tell future generations about the museum? "We were so atomized we could not be a unified people unless we shared a tragedy? Only desire could make 9/11 real?"
posted by fuq at 10:03 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've been inside the unfinished museum on a number of occasions. The interior fit-out is not yet finished, so a lot of the installations and things haven't been set up (you can't really set up projected displays if your wiring isn't done yet). The stuff that is there is pretty mind-blowing. Some of the hunks of steel and things like that are so large that museum was actually built around them. Huge panels of exterior steel columns are lying there, crumpled like candy bar wrappers.

The thing is mostly underground, but a lot of it feels very open and expansive nonetheless. The construction quality is quite good and it's obvious that a lot of rigor went into the design and layout of the space.

People will coo and cluck, as they do, about this fault or that omission. You can't please everybody, especially those people who seem to make it their mission to be displeased.
posted by weinbot at 10:05 AM on June 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


I think this article reveals a lot about our assumptions about museums - that they are created to record "truth" - and also that our assumptions are pretty wrong. It's easy to see in this case because the disagreements are so recent and personal. But I can't really think of any museums about people that capture "truth" in the way that the planners seem to be describing.

We are so close to 9/11, still very directly living in the aftermath. How can anyone presume to have an idea of what the "truth" of 9/11 is? The question of "truth" doesn't even make sense.

Museums are propaganda. They are part of the process through which we mythologize our history. 9/11 isn't history yet. I really think they should have just stuck with the memorial, and left out the museum. It's fine to document, we need to document. But why are they fighting over how to frame "the story?" It's not a story, it's still our lives.
posted by newg at 10:06 AM on June 3, 2012 [27 favorites]


Also, fuq, Baudrillard said that The Gulf War didn't happen. He specifically refers to the 9/11 attacks as an event.
posted by weinbot at 10:09 AM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Gift shop? GIFT SHOP? Gift shop.
posted by ColdChef at 10:12 AM on June 3, 2012 [46 favorites]


they should have built a library unlike no other ever built that would free an open to all on that "hallowed ground"
posted by robbyrobs at 10:14 AM on June 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


I remember when the first design competitions for various memorials started popping up in early 2002. Some of the smaller ones were specifically the sort of thing that usually appeal to folks who were in my position as a young architect with more ideas than authority in my own work place. At the time all I could think is "How can anyone know what to design without some distance. I think it will take a decade to begin knowing how to think about this."

Can you imagine the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. having been selected as the winning design six months after the fall of Saigon? I can't. I think the six years from that point in time, and even longer since most troops were pulled out, gave the needed space for reflection and opportunity for a new and reflective perspective.

It is little surprise to me given the process started too quickly and politically that the controversies have extended in ways that are so banal.
posted by meinvt at 10:15 AM on June 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


People will coo and cluck, as they do, about this fault or that omission. You can't please everybody, especially those people who seem to make it their mission to be displeased.

The attack was made in pursuance of the 1998 fatwa:
First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples. ...

Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation. ...

Third, if the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.
This is why 9/11 happened. Put it in the museum or don't pretend you have any interest in "the truth".
posted by Trurl at 10:15 AM on June 3, 2012 [33 favorites]


Also, fuq, Baudrillard said that The Gulf War didn't happen.

Baudrillard mainly said me reading closely and remembering what he said didn't happen. Anyways, the planning of museums is really fascinating stuff.
posted by fuq at 10:16 AM on June 3, 2012


ColdChef, gift shop! Gift shop! Gift shop!
posted by weinbot at 10:16 AM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The job of selecting which moments to highlight, potentially a political brawl, has been given to a computer that will project an ever-changing variety of news articles on a wall, as chosen by a statistical algorithm.

I was struck by this. It seems like a nice democratic way of accommodating incompatible views. I'd like to see the approach refined. How do you handle negotiations over the statistical algorithm, negotiating for percentage probabilities? It might be of use in future post-conflict situations where a story has to be told, but events are too recent for it to fit an agreed narrative. Lybia? North Korea (soon)?
posted by stonepharisee at 10:17 AM on June 3, 2012


This is why 9/11 happened. Put it in the museum or don't pretend you have any interest in "the truth".

Alternately it happened because the CIA set up a bunch of people to fight the Soviets, and things spiraled out of control.
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on June 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


What relief that New Yorkers haven't allowed this tragedy to destroy one of the true cornerstones of their culture, years-long bitter feuds with other New Yorkers. The healing has truly begun.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 10:18 AM on June 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


That the key chains are being sold at $40 a piece isn't nearly as shocking as the total lack of awareness of the full context of the pat-sounding quote inscribed on them.

OK, yeah, that's basically weird.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on June 3, 2012


“We have to transmit the truth without being absolutely crushed by it,” Mr. Daniels, the chief executive, said. “We don’t want to retraumatize people.”

If those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, and those who face the past unvarnished are crushed by it, what options are we left with?
posted by audi alteram partem at 10:25 AM on June 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can you imagine the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. having been selected as the winning design six months after the fall of Saigon? I can't. I think the six years from that point in time, and even longer since most troops were pulled out, gave the needed space for reflection and opportunity for a new and reflective perspective.

We are so close to 9/11, still very directly living in the aftermath. How can anyone presume to have an idea of what the "truth" of 9/11 is? The question of "truth" doesn't even make sense.


meinvt, newg, in these paragraphs, you are arguing that the museum is opening too quickly, while the rest of the world is harping about it having taken too long. Do you see what I'm saying about not being able to please everyone?
posted by weinbot at 10:25 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In ten years the gift shop will sell beer koozies adorned with "let's roll".
posted by sourwookie at 10:26 AM on June 3, 2012 [12 favorites]


ColdChef, gift shop! Gift shop! Gift shop!
posted by weinbot


Yeah, point taken. Still...ew.
posted by ColdChef at 10:27 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


What's that you say? A memorial to a tragic event that was almost immediately transformed into a national orgy of jingoism and blood-lust has had difficulties? Who could have seen that coming?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:27 AM on June 3, 2012 [15 favorites]


I think we should move the original US Constitution into the memorial
posted by crayz at 10:29 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


> the total lack of awareness of the full context of the pat-sounding quote inscribed on them

A writer who can describe Virgil's Aeneid as 'famously sentimental' (I'm quoting from the linked op-ed piece by Caroline Alexander) is not in a good position to criticise other people for careless reading. An awareness of the context of the quotation makes it profoundly and powerfully disturbing, in a way that seems to me utterly appropriate for a 9/11 memorial.
posted by verstegan at 10:32 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


meinvt, newg, in these paragraphs, you are arguing that the museum is opening too quickly, while the rest of the world is harping about it having taken too long. Do you see what I'm saying about not being able to please everyone?
weinbot

I don't think these are necessarily conflicting sentiments. The 9/11 site is somewhat unique as memorial sites go because the World Trade Center site was a working office complex in the Financial District of Manhattan. The site itself is valuable real estate that needs to be used in some way. You can't just leave a big space there. It's not a field far outside a city or a space set aside for memorials.

And I think this creates the tension you describe. There is a huge impetus to rebuild something there fast because it is a working site. This gets mixed up with the natural desire to have a memorial. But as others have said, memorials require reflection and time to be done right.

So on the one hand you have a rush to build something there, but a desire to build something meaningful and right. I think these two desires are both legitimate and don't show a "can't please 'em all" situation.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:34 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


We are so close to 9/11, still very directly living in the aftermath. How can anyone presume to have an idea of what the "truth" of 9/11 is? The question of "truth" doesn't even make sense.

Depends on what you mean by "truth". If you mean, the deep psychological and cultural implications of the event, then yes, the question doesn't even make sense this close to the event. It might in 100 years, but certainly not a decade later.

If you mean the various factors which led to the event happening? That's a narrative which can be traced through the US involvement in the Middle East, coupled with the Cold War and training of insurgent fighters against the USSR in Afghanistan, through Bin Laden and his teachings and calls to bring down the US, and a lot of other threads that can be woven together to a knot that is tied on the morning of September 11, 2001. It's a set of facts which are researchable, could easily be related in a museum setting, and largely are ones which the US (for whatever reason) has chosen to ignore in favor of the jingoistic "they hate us for our freedoms" nonsense.

There is more than one kind of truth, and the conflict between the need to memorialize vs the need to educate seems to be the rubbing point about this particular project. Too bad it won't do both, and sounds like it won't do either particularly well.
posted by hippybear at 10:34 AM on June 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


How can anyone presume to have an idea of what the "truth" of 9/11 is? The question of "truth" doesn't even make sense.

Also, this is not a true thing to say. We know a lot about the truth of 9/11. Planes, buildings, collapses, deaths. No one - apart from the fringe nutjobs - is disputing these things.

Certainly we do not yet have an understanding of the long term after effects of the attacks and our reactions to them. Hell, the U.S. is still in Afghanistan. But it's very silly to say that we don't know anything about 9/11 because we are not yet far enough removed from it. The gross majority of the museum is about the victims, the attacks, and the immediate aftermath, and we know a ton about those things.
posted by weinbot at 10:36 AM on June 3, 2012


Also, has anyone in this thread even been to the actual memorial, currently open and operational and Lower Manhattan? Apart from the American flags where you enter, you'd really be straining to find any "jingoism."
posted by weinbot at 10:40 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


A good strat point for a meaningfull history of 9/11 might be post-WWII, in the era when the US was suplanting the British Empire as a global power. A good end point... well, we've not gotten there yet.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on June 3, 2012


This is why 9/11 happened. Put it in the museum or don't pretend you have any interest in "the truth"

Interestingly enough, I recently visited the Pearl Harbor memorial for the first time and I thought they did a pretty good job of setting up the context - one whole building of exhibits laid the groundwork for the events leading to the attack; another building which broke down the day of the attack in detail. I thought it was pretty fairly done.

There was a gift shop which mostly sold books and a few other oddball things like Christmas tree ornaments. The sales support the park and other things, so it didn't feel too bizarre to peruse it.

I'm probably way too close to 9/11 chronologically to feel comfortable going to either the memorial in NY or the gift shop therein. Maybe my kids will go. If they do, I hope that by then someone has done as good as job as they did at Pearl in laying out the whole thing.
posted by jquinby at 10:41 AM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nobody has said the memorial or the museum will be strong on jingoism.

But you can't deny that the event was quickly sublimated into fanatical ultra-nationalism which continues to this day in a lot of forms when related to that event.
posted by hippybear at 10:42 AM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


hippybear, this was posted 6 minutes before I made my comment:

It's a set of facts which are researchable, could easily be related in a museum setting, and largely are ones which the US (for whatever reason) has chosen to ignore in favor of the jingoistic "they hate us for our freedoms" nonsense.
posted by weinbot at 10:45 AM on June 3, 2012


Yes, I know. I wrote that. And at no point did I say the museum was going to be jingoistic. I said the facts, which could easily be put into a museum, are ones which the US is ignoring because people here would rather not be educated about the truth of how US foreign policy led up to the event.

There's a big difference between a museum simply not putting information in the exhibits and putting up ultra-nationalistic propaganda. The museum seems to be doing the first, and not the second.
posted by hippybear at 10:50 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


weinbot

I think that comment may be referring less to the memorial itself and more to the symbolic use of the site hippybear refers to, and to actions like the proposal to call the new One World Trade Center building the Freedom Tower.
posted by Sangermaine at 10:52 AM on June 3, 2012


meinvt, newg, in these paragraphs, you are arguing that the museum is opening too quickly, while the rest of the world is harping about it having taken too long. Do you see what I'm saying about not being able to please everyone?

I never intended to please everyone. I only comment on what I believe it takes to make a good memorial.

I'll also note that anything like this that takes ten years to get done is suffering from a lack of cohesive direction. I think they could have held off for five years, simply setting space aside in the construction plans, and then started design on the memorial and still ended up at pretty much the same schedule. It wouldn't have been great, but I think would have been better.

The poor folks deeply emotionally invested in this must be so, so, so tired by now.
posted by meinvt at 11:02 AM on June 3, 2012


I wished that they simply dug out and flooded where the twin towers stood, and surrounded it by trees and a very tasteful Vietnam Wall-esque memorial.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Trurl and hippybear, please don't get me wrong. You're claiming that the attacks carried out in response to the crap that he U.S. was had been pulling in the Middle East for decades. I agree *roughly*. I'm not here to back the 'they hate us for our freedoms' line. I never have. But I say that I agree only roughly because things get more complicated than that...

Just as one example, there is lead hijacker Mohammad Atta's personal hatred of modernist superblock urban planning, of which the World Trade Center was a strong example:

Atta did not choose the World Trade Center as a target; Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mechanical engineer now commonly called "the architect of 9/11," did that, likely because his nephew Ramsi Youssef had tried and failed to level the buildings in 1993. But when Atta was told he would lead a mission to destroy America's tallest and most famous modernist high-rise complex—the apotheosis of the building type he dreamed of razing in Aleppo—he may have felt the hand of divine providence at work.

(Later on, that article mentions that Atta believed that Monica Lewinsky was a Mossad agent sent to bring down President Clinton.)

If you want to draw a thread of events from the Soviet war in Afghanistan, through the Mujahideen, to Osama bin Laden, to 9/11, you'd be telling a fuller story, but you still wouldn't be telling the full story. We know a lot about the 9/11 hijackers, and we know that their backgrounds and, therefore, their motivations are messy and diverse and often illogical. If we want to tell the story of just one, Mohammad Atta, we now need to start talking about the clearance of neighborhoods in Aleppo and the trouble with preserving historic monuments in Cairo.

History is a muddle. It's such a muddle that you can say something completely true like, "The attack was made in pursuance of the 1998 fatwa," and still be wrong.
posted by weinbot at 11:16 AM on June 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Burhanistan, you're almost exactly describing the permanent memorial that is open to the public right now.
posted by weinbot at 11:19 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


We know a lot about the truth of 9/11. Planes, buildings, collapses, deaths. No one - apart from the fringe nutjobs - is disputing these things.

Depends on what you mean by "truth". If you mean, the deep psychological and cultural implications of the event, then yes, the question doesn't even make sense this close to the event. It might in 100 years, but certainly not a decade later.

If you mean the various factors which led to the event happening...


Well, this is my point, I think we actually agree a lot. "Facts" are not always "truth". Truth, in what I think is a pretty conventional usage, is a statement about a thesis. A thesis is true, or it is not true. It's the difference between events and a framing of events. My point follows from your comments - any site that has the goal of achieving both the purpose of a memorial and also a museum is going to fail, because, well, yeah past US activity in the Middle East is part of the "truth" of 9/11 (a personal opinion based on non-primary research) but if we have a walk-through exhibit of the CIA playing games with the Soviets I doubt that would achieve the function of the memorial. Which is why I said they should have just dropped the museum.

Anyway, it was part of a larger comment about how I don't think ANY museum can capture the "truth." Or does. That is not the purpose of a museum. The purpose is to say, "this is what we want you to remember." They can't show, or tell about everything. They choose some things.

The motivation for the whole comment comes from an unhappiness that individuals often try to justify their choices by saying that they are in search of the truth, when really they have no such access to that kind of thing. I do not accept the idea of truth as a noble goal. Truth is for logicians. I'd much rather people say, "I'm just trying to comprehend, or understand." A memorial can help us comprehend, or understand. This is a human need, and I respect it. A museum is much more reaching, and in this case I think it is especially inappropriate.
posted by newg at 11:19 AM on June 3, 2012


please don't get me wrong

I'm not getting you wrong at all. But apparently you read a lot into one of the comments I made about jingoism and decided I was talking about the content of the museum rather than reading the actual words I wrote.

So yeah, please don't get ME wrong. I support the creation of a museum / memorial at the WTC site. I'm just continually frustrated by the propaganda which rose quickly after the event and which pervades even most conversations about it to this day, despite there being plenty of real information about the event which has been made available and even promoted to the populace and is being ignored in favor of the easy slogans and warmongering mindset which was so hyper-prevalent in the year immediately following.

Whatever this place finally ends up being, I hope it brings some measure of solace to those who were personally impacted by the tragedy. I just hope it also serves some purpose for those who visit it 50 years from now. And based on what I've read about it (not just here, but in other pieces), I'm doubting it will.
posted by hippybear at 11:26 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


This keeps me thinking about Baurdrillard's assertion that 9/11 didn't happen.

Actually, Baudrillard considered 9/11 the "absolute event".
posted by mediated self at 11:30 AM on June 3, 2012


Newg: "Museums are propaganda. They are part of the process through which we mythologize our history."

You have not been to a decent museum in a long time, have you?
posted by LarryC at 11:31 AM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


decided I was talking about the content of the museum rather than reading the actual words I wrote.

What a crazy thing to think in a thread full of comments about the content of the museum.
posted by weinbot at 11:32 AM on June 3, 2012


The 9/11 site is somewhat unique as memorial sites go because the World Trade Center site was a working office complex in the Financial District of Manhattan. The site itself is valuable real estate that needs to be used in some way. You can't just leave a big space there. It's not a field far outside a city or a space set aside for memorials.

I can't figure out how they picked the site, but the same could be said for the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas in Berlin. It's pretty much adjacent to the new US Embassy, which occupies a fairly choice bit of real estate. It's not an area dominated by office buildings, but a similar principle applies, I think.
posted by hoyland at 11:32 AM on June 3, 2012


It's not crazy to read someone's actual words as opposed to drawing inference about them based on what you think they should be talking about.

Anyway, I think you're clear now on what I actually said versus what you think I said. Any further questions about it can be directed to my MeMail.
posted by hippybear at 11:35 AM on June 3, 2012


Now there's an example of a well executed and fitting memorial.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on June 3, 2012


> you're almost exactly describing the permanent memorial that is open to the public right now.

Whoops! Well, yeah, it does seem like the most logical and respectful way to go. I'd like it to even connect directly to the Hudson but that probably isn't practical for a number of reasons.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:40 AM on June 3, 2012


This is why 9/11 happened. Put it in the museum or don't pretend you have any interest in "the truth".

If only we had listened to the words of the great pacifist bin Laden, who threw out this fatwa after several years of blowing things up. How dare the US station troops in Saudi Arabia with the agreement of the Saudi Arabian government. That's sacred land, an entirely rational concept justifying any sort of violent defensive bigotry.
posted by anigbrowl at 11:57 AM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the Canadian War Museum, there is a Memorial Hall set aside to be the memorial of all victims of war - and it is a profound place.

In fact, the whole museum deals with a difficult topic very well.
posted by jb at 11:59 AM on June 3, 2012


TBH I'd put as much faith in the literal truth of one of Bin Ladin's speeches about America as one of Bush's about Iraq.
posted by Artw at 12:00 PM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


First draft of history, and all that.
posted by rhizome at 12:15 PM on June 3, 2012


If only we had listened to the words of the great pacifist bin Laden, who threw out this fatwa after several years of blowing things up. How dare the US station troops in Saudi Arabia with the agreement of the Saudi Arabian government. That's sacred land, an entirely rational concept justifying any sort of violent defensive bigotry.

Do you think somebody explaining why the Nazis did what they did must think what they did was rational too?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:16 PM on June 3, 2012 [10 favorites]


To give visitors time to recover, Ms. Greenwald said the designers built in some breathing room. A more cerebral subject — the history of Al Qaeda — follows the intensely emotional recounting of the day.

-TFA
posted by weinbot at 12:25 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I understand why it's politically difficult to defy the wishes of the most vocal family members, but the museum really should be the place where that starts to happen. A 9/11 museum without information about the hijackers isn't a museum. They probably should've just left the museum to be done in 50 years.
posted by Mavri at 12:28 PM on June 3, 2012


Memorial museum? Is that the best name they could come up with?

Good lawd our nation is filled with weak-sauce.

Steal our vital fluids, indeed.
posted by roboton666 at 12:39 PM on June 3, 2012


Gift shop? GIFT SHOP? Gift shop.

Makes me think I should've bought every single t-shirt I saw for sale on the streets of New York when I visited in October 2001. One of the more striking motifs was a generic cartoon Arab impaled ass-first on the Empire State Building's finial antenna. There were also many remarkable variations on "These Colors Don't Run." I could have the tackiest, most lucrative commemorative shop on eBay. I could be the internet king of ill-considered vengeful 9/11 kitsch. And what a throne that would be.

God Bless America.
posted by gompa at 12:40 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


posted by meinvt I remember when the first design competitions for various memorials started popping up in early 2002 . . . At the time all I could think is "How can anyone know what to design without some distance. I think it will take a decade to begin knowing how to think about this.". . . I'll also note that anything like this that takes ten years to get done is suffering from a lack of cohesive direction.

If anything, the design process should be longer. Consider:

Oklahoma City National Memorial
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing: 4/19/1995
Oklahoma City National Memorial dedication: 4/19/2000
Museum dedication: 2/19/2001
5 years

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Fall of Saigon: 4/30/1975
Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedication: 11/13/1982
7 years

USS Arizona Memorial
Japanese attack on Peal Harbor: 12/7/1941
USS Arizona Memorial dedication: 5/30/1962
21 years

United States Holocaust Museum
V-E Day: 5/8/1945
United States Holocaust Museum dedication: 4/22/1993
48 years

National World War II Memorial
Signing of the Instrument of Surrender aboard USS Missouri: 9/2/1945
National World War II Memorial dedication: 5/29/2004
59 years
posted by mattdidthat at 12:45 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In ten years the gift shop will sell beer koozies adorned with "let's roll".

does this count?

this does, for sure, even if it's a lapel pin
posted by pyramid termite at 12:56 PM on June 3, 2012


Looking forward to the exhibit where they show the Bush Administration kicking John P O'Neill and his crazy talk about Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to the curb in early 2001.

Previously, for anyone not familiar with O'Neill's story
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


>ColdChef, gift shop! Gift shop! Gift shop!

If I ever feel the need to waste $5 on a sock puppet account, it will now be nearly certain that I register as Auschwitz Gift Shop...
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:04 PM on June 3, 2012


Just as one example, there is lead hijacker Mohammad Atta's personal hatred of modernist superblock urban planning, of which the World Trade Center was a strong example
Well, as a pragmatic urban planner, he certainly rates a success, seeing as he managed to spur the reconnection of the historic lower Manhattan street grid, something unprecedented so far as I know.
posted by akgerber at 1:07 PM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Let's put up a plaque inside that details the total amount of lives lost through terrorism in the US compared with 40 other countries, listing the number of dead from most to least.

No man is an island...any man's death diminishes me... but there needs to be some perspective. Maybe if we thought long and hard about why selling arms is evil and only benefits those amoral few with deep pockets, we could save some lives in the future.

I mourn those who died, but right along with that, I mourn the national orgy of jingoism and blood-lust that sprung up afterward.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:25 PM on June 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Akgerber, I earnestly tell people that Mohammad Atta was the most successful NYC urban planner since Robert Moses.
posted by weinbot at 1:27 PM on June 3, 2012


If only we had listened to the words of the great pacifist bin Laden, who threw out this fatwa after several years of blowing things up.

He was willing to kill thousands of civilians to achieve geopolitical objectives. So are we.

He was evil. But he was not a madman. And it does us no favors to pretend that he was.
posted by Trurl at 1:31 PM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


An awareness of the context of the quotation makes it profoundly and powerfully disturbing, in a way that seems to me utterly appropriate for a 9/11 memorial.

I totally agree. They are gentle, encouraging words that follow a great tragedy. I don't have a problem with the quote, in or out of context.

Also, I think the timing is just fine, and I really can't wait to go. I sort of love that it's that deep underground, what a strange feeling that will be.
posted by hermitosis at 1:35 PM on June 3, 2012


Do you think somebody explaining why the Nazis did what they did must think what they did was rational too?

This goes back to the use/mention distinction mentioned above. I have no problem with the observation that bin Laden considered the US an enemy because of its military presence in the ME and its support for Israel. But there's a big difference between including the factual context and giving bin Laden's assertions the status of fact. I rather doubt that any holocaust museums feature lengthy excerpts from Mein Kampf or the like. While no fan of current Israeli policy, I don't see why we should give bin Laden a posthumous platform for venting his existential hatred of Israel or Jews.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:13 PM on June 3, 2012


posted by anigbrowl I rather doubt that any holocaust museums feature lengthy excerpts from Mein Kampf or the like.

Here.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:21 PM on June 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


My favorite is still the Christmas card.
posted by novalis_dt at 2:31 PM on June 3, 2012


How does that even make sense as a Christmas card, jeeeez. Those lights only come on for a few days in September!

"Happy Christmas! Here's a photo of New York from two months ago."
posted by weinbot at 2:39 PM on June 3, 2012


From the article:
But portraying perpetrators and enemies is rarely simple, as Mr. Blight pointed out. Most of the narratives displayed at Civil War battlefields started to mention slavery as a cause of the conflict only about 10 to 15 years ago.

Can anyone expand on this? Is this a case of Southern memorials only recently starting to acknowledge uncomfortable truths, or a case of previously in-depth narratives being simplified, or...?
posted by -harlequin- at 2:50 PM on June 3, 2012


Quick review of Christmas: Fat old guy in a red suit gives toys to kids to celebrate the birth (in a different season) of a religious prophet. Soo.... where exactly does sense come into the picture?
posted by evilDoug at 2:50 PM on June 3, 2012


What does Christmas and how it is celebrated in western culture have to do with a 9/11 memorial?
posted by hippybear at 3:40 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to when 1 WTC opens, and we finally get to find out what happens when you fill a lobby with both gawping tourists and Condé Nasties.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:43 PM on June 3, 2012


The Museum Shop was an Inside Job.
posted by Israel Tucker at 3:46 PM on June 3, 2012


^eponyo-uh-oh!
posted by hap_hazard at 3:50 PM on June 3, 2012


evidenceofabsence, I know this is a derail, but about a month ago, a took a photo from the top of 1WTC (actually from a crane rig) to show people what kind of views those guys are gonna have.

Here it is.
posted by weinbot at 3:51 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


(As a point of reference, the building in the center of the picture with the green truncated-pyramid roof is 580 feet tall.)
posted by weinbot at 3:53 PM on June 3, 2012


Can anyone expand on this? Is this a case of Southern memorials only recently starting to acknowledge uncomfortable truths, or a case of previously in-depth narratives being simplified, or...?

All of the above and more; James Loewen is a sociologist who writes extensively on this topic. This excerpt from his book Lies Across America lists some particularly glaring inaccuracies in historical sites; One concerns the Civil War (and another concerns Lincoln), but he lists 3 concerning Native Americans, another subject that we as a nation don't handle very well. This book of his goes into some detail about how the civil war is presented in history texts. And don't even get me started on Helen Keller's birthplace, which Loewen also discusses in his books.
posted by TedW at 3:53 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, linked in the thread where I made the Helen Keller comment, this seems appropriate to this discussion: Are we historians or memorialists?
posted by TedW at 3:56 PM on June 3, 2012


But there's a big difference between including the factual context and giving bin Laden's assertions the status of fact.

Fair enough. We did not kill 1 million Iraqis. At least, the conservative estimate of sanctions-related deaths is only 170,000.

Even if you add in all the civilian casualties of the Iraq War, the conservative estimate only adds another 100,000.

And what sane person would begrudge us a mere quarter-million civilian casualties? Especially when we deeply regretted each one?
posted by Trurl at 4:04 PM on June 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


The 9/11 site is somewhat unique as memorial sites go because the World Trade Center site was a working office complex in the Financial District of Manhattan. The site itself is valuable real estate that needs to be used in some way. You can't just leave a big space there. It's not a field far outside a city or a space set aside for memorials.

Really, why not?
posted by MattWPBS at 4:56 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


MattWPBS, for many reasons:

The site is about 90 feet deep, so people advocating that nothing be built there are - whether or not they realize it - suggesting that a huge, inaccessible hole be left in Lower Manhattan. Just getting the site to street level required tremendous
construction and therefore involved no "leaving."

There's also the PATH train and the #1 MTA line would be useless and inaccessible if they had just "left a big space there."

And the money that the Port Authority is losing to build the new transit center is a drop in the bucket compared to how much they would lose if they allowed that much of their own to land to remain an unused pit.

And what of the neighboring offices, hotels, and residences, which would be doomed to exist next door to a permanent void?

There are a million more "ands," but you should have come up with some of your own before posing your question.
posted by weinbot at 5:24 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, a huge inaccessible hole would be a fitting memorial all around. Do enough construction to make the train lines still work fine, and then just leave the pit with a rail around it. That would say enough without actually saying anything beyond that.

Money that isn't collected on a site which has nothing on it but could isn't lost money, it's non-exploited opportunity. But not all opportunities have to be exploited. And saying it's lost money is, in my mind, like a corporation saying that because they only earned $18 billion last year instead if $20 billion means they "lost" money.

As for neighboring buildings which would exist next to a void, in Manhattan that isn't necessarily a "doom"... the possibility to see further than across the street is something which I've heard a lot of Manhattanites say would be nice.
posted by hippybear at 5:32 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think most people who advocated for leaving a big space there were envisioning a memorial or a park, not a raw hole. It's not actually unthinkable that there could be land in Manhattan that isn't dedicated to commerce.
posted by Mavri at 5:39 PM on June 3, 2012


It's not actually unthinkable that there could be land in Manhattan that isn't dedicated to commerce.

I hear tell of a giant park, perhaps centrally located, which speaks to exactly this.
posted by hippybear at 5:42 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are a million more "ands," but you should have come up with some of your own before posing your question.

Weinbot: apart from keeping the transport links running, those are exactly the kind of "ands" which make me ask "...and why not?"

It's a piece of land where thousands of people died. Maybe that could be somewhere where "we can make isn't the overriding principle in decisions about what to do with the land?
posted by MattWPBS at 5:46 PM on June 3, 2012


Bah. They shouldn't have a museum, and the memorial should have been a great big hand flipping history's biggest bird directly in Allah's face. Now that says America's back, baby!

--A Typical American News Discussion Board Contributor
posted by saulgoodman at 5:46 PM on June 3, 2012


I got nothing. 9/11 was a defining moment in US history, not one that united us, as some had hoped, but one that left us bitterly divided, as the ugly marginalization of political dissent by reduction of contrary positions to Trutherism or Birtherism evident even in this thread shows. But a good museum--I'll have to withhold judgment until I see it, ultimately, but it's a murky territory, with so many wrongs left unaddressed in our political processes.
posted by saulgoodman at 5:54 PM on June 3, 2012


I'm really wondering how many people in this thread are still unaware that many acres of this site are simply open spaces and are available to the public right now.
posted by weinbot at 5:55 PM on June 3, 2012


That's funny, because I'm really wondering why you seem to have a very specific axe to grind in this thread.
posted by hippybear at 5:59 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm gonna step out of this thread now because, as someone heavily involved in this project, I'm having a really hard time discussing this. Hippybear, maybe 16 acre large, 90 foot deep pits are acceptable in Cheney, WA. They are not acceptable in Lower Manhattan.
posted by weinbot at 6:03 PM on June 3, 2012


Sorry that should have read "discussing with people who have no skin in the game."
posted by weinbot at 6:07 PM on June 3, 2012


posted by weinbot many acres of this site are simply open spaces and are available to the public right now.

I'm not sure that's entirely accurate.
posted by mattdidthat at 6:20 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


But nothing has been more fraught than figuring out how to tell the story.

How about sticking with the facts, and letting them speak for themselves? That somehow not tear-jerking enough for some folks?

"On September 11th, 2001, a date chosen based on a vaguely relevant chapter and verse of the Koran, 19 radical Muslims including 15 Saudi nationals and under the direction Osama bin Laden, a member of the wealthy Saudi bin Laden family and an ethnic Yemeni Kindite, decided to declare war on America by blowing up a random economic hub, along with 2977 innocent occupants of the building."

That about cover the executive summary? No conspiracy theories, no mention of the Bush ties to that same wealthy family, no hyperbole, no "Hoo-AHH!" factor.

I suspect we'll instead get some BS dripping with glurge, but IMO, the best way to make it relevant to the future, stick to the facts. People fifty years from now can look up the peripherals on their own, if they so desire.
posted by pla at 6:40 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


From mattdidthat's link:
All persons thirteen years of age or older entering Memorial Property must, when required and/or requested, display photo identification (“ID”) to Memorial Employees to confirm Visitor Pass is valid.
Since when do 13 year olds have photo ID? Loads of people don't have passports and they don't all have school IDs either. To be honest, reading the regulations has made destroyed any desire whatsoever that I had to go there and I go out of my way to go to even obscure memorials.
posted by hoyland at 6:45 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering why you think the people you're discussing this with "have no skin in this game." And I'm genuinely curious about your assertion that there is open space available to the public at the site. I admit that I've avoided the place like the plague for years, but I was just by there about a month ago. It was still very much an off-limits site. The 9/11 memorial website and the Port Authority website don't say any different. Maybe I'll check it out during my lunch hour this week, and let you know if I can access any open space without a ticket, a photo id, or a security screening.
posted by Mavri at 6:57 PM on June 3, 2012


Since when do 13 year olds have photo ID?

Student ID, usually.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:13 PM on June 3, 2012


Oops, should have kept reading.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:13 PM on June 3, 2012


Honestly, weinbot, this whole thread (well, your involvement in it anyway) would have gone a lot smoother if you'd laid out your connections and involvement with the project from very early on and had spoken from that position rather than taking the defensive/offensive/needle-and-poke conversational style which you have adopted during this discussion.

I'm sure plenty of people here (myself included) would have welcomed having an informed insider offering insight and answering questions about the project. But that's not how you have conducted yourself in this thread, nor is it the impression anyone could have garnered from anything you've said other than your assertion that you've been inside the still-not-open-nor-complete museum memorial several times.

If you have real insights to share which give clarification to the process and design and implementation of this project, I wish you'd share them. But looking back across this thread, all you've done is tear down others and assert your opinions without any real basis, and then you felt threatened to the point of fleeing when I questioned why you are relating in this manner.

Come back, share with us what you know in a way which provides context and clarity rather than simply argument, and we'll all be the richer for what you have to say.
posted by hippybear at 7:21 PM on June 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


To be fair the gift shop is definitely the most sober gift shop you've ever visited. It's a small space and most of it is taken up with further exhibits, which six months ago at least were mostly testimonies from eyewitnesses, the families of the dead, and firefighters. Those exhibits are cleverly distributed throughout the shop, and there's a large video screen with documentary and quite loud audio, so that it's hard if not impossible for a visitor to switch entirely into consumer mode. Most of the merchandise isn't keyrings but things like books and photo collections, with a bit more meat to them. Nothing really scholarly or varied though, sadly. I was all prepared to be horrified by the gift shop- and they could definitely have more varied and critical perspectives on the event- but it wasn't outright tacky at all.
posted by pickingupsticks at 10:58 PM on June 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Since when do 13 year olds have photo ID?

It became commonplace after the US government and military became a hive of lying snitches.
posted by rhizome at 12:36 AM on June 4, 2012


[Some comments deleted; Trurl, this is not your thread to dominate with repetitive comments; please cut it out.]
posted by taz at 5:17 AM on June 4, 2012


decided to declare war on America

If we're trying for just the facts, I don't think "declare war" will work, because there was considerable disagreement over the "war on terrorism" framing as a response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
posted by audi alteram partem at 5:43 AM on June 4, 2012


I think trying to establish which "truth" the memorial should be "presenting" is a fool's errand, because there are a lot of different perspectives and ain't no one gonna be happy.

Also, I note from the original article that the objection was to posting photographs of the perpetrators, rather than to mentioning them at all. What I gathered was that for those who objected, mentioning the "how" of what happened (i.e., "terrorists captured planes and flew them into buildings") was okay, but singling out the identities of those individuals was a problem ("and here's a list of their names and where they lived and such").

I wouldn't mind either way, but I can understand the objection; interestingly, it's how Yoko Ono prefers to address John Lennon's murder. You'll note that in all of the books, movies, memoirs, and such that she helped produce since 1980, whenever John's death comes up, they mention that John was killed -- but they never mention the name of the killer. The relevant fact is John Lennon's death, she believes, and she doesn't want to give the guy who did that any damn bit of credit. This is kind of the same thing, I think - "yes, it's a fact that people flew planes into the Twin Towers, but we shouldn't be giving the guys who did it any of the credit they were hoping to get; let them rot in anonymity."

As for the memorial/museum itself: my brother was in town recently with his family, and at some point asked me whether "Ground Zero" was something my three-year-old niece and infant nephew would get anything out of, or whether he should wait until they're older. I discouraged him from taking them as gently as I could, and when he asked if I'd been, I joked that "I'd lived it, so no." I'm still marveling two months later that he even asked that question, but I'm chalking it up to what I've consistently learned -- that the rest of the country's experience of 9/11 was vastly different from the experience of people in New York City and in Washington DC, and we may never be able to bridge that gap in perception.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


For reference, here is the memorial for the more than 1,000 people that died when the PS General Slocum caught fire and sank in the East River. Until 9/11 it was NYC's worst disaster in terms of lives lost.
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:33 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's how Yoko Ono prefers to address John Lennon's murder

Personally I think it's a kind of a dramatic and outsider-y approach to take. In fact, Yoko took it to some interesting extremes: she had the actor playing John Lennon in "John and Yoko: A Love Story" fired when she found out that his name was Mark Lindsay Chapman (the assassin's name was Mark David Chapman).

The person quoted in TFA complained about the hijackers being "honored" by having their photos in the museum, and I just can't bring myself to see it as an honor to have one's portrait hung somewhere so that millions of people can walk by it one by one and feel intense hatred and disgust.
posted by hermitosis at 8:01 AM on June 4, 2012


Okay, yeah, firing an actor who had the same name as Mark Chapman is really extreme, but I at least can follow and understand the personal logic at the core of her motivation. Not what I'd personally choose myself, mind (and I agree with you that having pictures of the terrorists would not in fact be honoring them), but it's at least a perspective that has a sense to it rather than being a knee-jerk thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:19 AM on June 4, 2012


posted by anigbrowl I rather doubt that any holocaust museums feature lengthy excerpts from Mein Kampf or the like.

Here.


Those are not lengthy excerpts, and tend to indict rather than validate Hitler's policies.

And what sane person would begrudge us a mere quarter-million civilian casualties? Especially when we deeply regretted each one?

Borrowing excuses from others (eg appropriating the perceived injustices of the first Iraq war) is a great propaganda trick. Since the war between Iraq and Iran resulted in over a million casualties, one wonders why bin Laden didn't see fit to attack Saddam Hussein for undermining Islamic unity.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:05 PM on June 4, 2012


audi alteram partem : If we're trying for just the facts, I don't think "declare war" will work, because there was considerable disagreement over the "war on terrorism" framing as a response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

I can agree easily enough with the (in)appropriateness of our response to 9/11, no objections there.

Perhaps you can chalk this up as a bias of mine, but I find it hard to view a large-scale coordinated attack on the US mainland, including both our nation's capitol and (arguably) our most important/visible city, as anything but a de-facto declaration of war, little different than Pearl Harbor (albeit against a less concretely-defined opponent).
posted by pla at 2:45 PM on June 4, 2012


the perceived injustices of the first Iraq war

170,000 corpses - many of them children - have an annoying tendency to foster that perception.
posted by Trurl at 9:34 AM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl: Those are not lengthy excerpts, and tend to indict rather than validate Hitler's policies.

Well—to be fair—even lengthy excertps of Mein Kampf would tend to indict Hitler's policies also.
posted by nfg at 3:07 PM on June 5, 2012


Perhaps you can chalk this up as a bias of mine, but I find it hard to view a large-scale coordinated attack on the US mainland, including both our nation's capitol and (arguably) our most important/visible city, as anything but a de-facto declaration of war.

That's a valid position to take, though it's not one that is uncontested. My position is that I find it hard to attach the term war to any agent other than state actors. More importantly, US citizens were not unanimous in seeing the attacks as an act of war, which is why I said that such phrasing would be inappropriate for any statement seeking to win as wide adherence as possible for a description of the "facts" of September 11.
posted by audi alteram partem at 4:08 PM on June 5, 2012


170,000 corpses - many of them children - have an annoying tendency to foster that perception.

On the other hand, Saddam Hussein could have desisted from invading Kuwait, which country in turn sought recourse at the UN. The US and several European governments arguably facilitated Hussein in pursuit of the profits to be had from arms sales, but having a military capability doesn't impose the obligation to use it. Likewise, it was Saddam Hussein's choice to keep violating the no-fly zone and spending years engaged in brinksmanship with UN inspectors before W even came into office. I say 'perceived injustice' because some portion of the blame for the death toll of the first gulf War should really fall on the person who initiated hotilities, as opposed to your bizarro world where everything that ever happens seems to be 100% the fault of the US.

Well—to be fair—even lengthy excertps of Mein Kampf would tend to indict Hitler's policies also.

True, but they might seem more persuasive and coherent to others, and quoting them at length might seem like an endorsement of the arguments offered therein. One can begin with faulty premises but derive a logically flawless argument from them, and this will be impressive to many people, perhaps most, because a great many people accept premises as axiomatic and assume that a properly developed argument thus has truth value. See above for an example; one poster in this thread assumes that because the US was an actor in the Gulf War and said war resulted in a considerable number of dead, Osama bin Laden's assertions on the subject thus have the ring of truth about them notwithstanding the highly questionable premises upon which those assertions were founded.

My position is that I find it hard to attach the term war to any agent other than state actors.

I suggest that that's because paramilitary actors have not really had the capacity to wage anything resembling war until relatively recently. By definition, any civil war includes at least one non-state actor.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:49 PM on June 5, 2012


By definition, any civil war includes at least one non-state actor.

An actor who is trying to supplant a state actor. But this isn't an argument I want to pursue. My point was that "war" is not a term that will serve the purpose of "sticking with the facts, and letting them speak for themselves."
posted by audi alteram partem at 5:00 PM on June 5, 2012


Again from the Holocaust Museum, an article on how the Treaty of Versailles contributed to the rise of Hitler.

The difficulties imposed by social and economic unrest in the wake of World War I and its onerous peace terms worked in tandem to undermine pluralistic democratic solutions in Weimar Germany and to increase public longing for more authoritarian direction, a kind of leadership which German voters ultimately and unfortunately found in Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party.


I dunno about long exerpts from Mein Kamph, but you can discuss potentially valid points without endorsing the entirely invalid course of action taken as a result. We give some of bin Ladens assertions the status of fact because some of them were facts, that is all. When he was wrong, we point that out too. I don't think such a look at his words would balance out in favor of his credibility.

In Iraq, I think we can discuss how the world failed that nation in addition to the many ways Saddam failed his people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:05 PM on June 5, 2012


*Kampf, Sorry Hitler.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:07 PM on June 5, 2012


My point was that "war" is not a term that will serve the purpose of "sticking with the facts, and letting them speak for themselves."

It's possible that you are in a minority on this one, and that most people have a more expansive definition of the term than you do.

I dunno about long exerpts from Mein Kamph, but you can discuss potentially valid points without endorsing the entirely invalid course of action taken as a result.

I'm not objecting to that at all.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:47 PM on June 5, 2012


It's possible that you are in a minority on this one, and that most people have a more expansive definition of the term than you do.

Yes that is possible. But the the existence of disagreement on the application of the term is why I say that "war" cannot serve in a just-the-facts description.
posted by audi alteram partem at 5:57 PM on June 5, 2012


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