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Sickening.
September 15, 2004 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Tragedy! Now at half price!

I think Lewis Black was right when he suggested that the last stage of grief isn't acceptance, but exploitation.

(And here's how to contact the outfit responsible.)
posted by Vidiot (49 comments total)

 
Wow.
posted by cortex at 1:24 PM on September 15, 2004


I can't decide if this is better or worse than the commemorative chocolate coin.
posted by Vidiot at 1:24 PM on September 15, 2004


A worse tragedy...
posted by banished at 1:27 PM on September 15, 2004


Exploitation accounts for the supply-side... what accounts for the demand-side? Some kind of warped, pathetic desire to be part of tragedy? We live in such an emotionally and socially illiterate society, when so many people see it as appropriate to buy this crap, or leave a fucking teddy bear in the driveway of a murdered child.
posted by stonerose at 1:27 PM on September 15, 2004


Wheeeeee!
posted by bondcliff at 1:31 PM on September 15, 2004


stonerose-- I think it's called being human in a time where many do not have extended families, or perhaps close relationships. I don't think it's so wrong to feel awful and personally affected by things that didn't happen to you directly.

I do think these coins are in bad taste, but I'm not going to judge the people that buy them, I'm sure they don't have bad intentions.
posted by cell divide at 1:33 PM on September 15, 2004


Check out these rad toys!
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:34 PM on September 15, 2004


Stonerose, breathe deeply, dude; it's going to be alright.
posted by lometogo at 1:37 PM on September 15, 2004


But what if the new WTC doesn't look like that?
posted by Celery at 1:39 PM on September 15, 2004


The best part is, you tape a string down the middle of the coin and spin it... wooaahh, ghost towers, man!
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:43 PM on September 15, 2004


Sorry for the outburst - I don't think the consumers of this stuff are ill-intentioned, or even particularly stupid. I definitely 'get' the need to connect with others in a time of grief. I'm just frustrated that this is how so many people channel their emotions. It's not very productive, and as noted, it plays into the hands of some really disgusting opportunists.
posted by stonerose at 1:44 PM on September 15, 2004


Thanks, vidiot--I watch TDS, but missed that. Truly appalling. It was all too appropriate that Lewis Black's head nearly exploded at the end of the piece.

Patriot Day. I've been wondering why we haven't made December 7 an official holiday. Or perhaps August 19 (when the White House was gutted in the War of 1812). Proud moments for the USA indeed.
posted by adamrice at 1:47 PM on September 15, 2004


I can't decide if this is better or worse than the commemorative chocolate coin.

Which was saddening and exploitive, yet rich and creamy.
posted by jonmc at 1:49 PM on September 15, 2004


I think this company is a bunch of asshats and I called them that I my blog the other day after seeing their ad during a sports broadcast. In fact I filed a Truth in Advertising complaint with the FTC and sent an email to the network, not that any of that will do much good except for my blood pressure. Bunch of lying sack of shits.
posted by billsaysthis at 1:51 PM on September 15, 2004


stonerose, maybe I'm being more charitable than I should, but I ascribe the "demand side" behaviors to misdirected anger and a muddled sense of solidarity.

And I also think it's kind of a stretch from teddy bears in a families driveway to this coin. and what cell divide said.
posted by jonmc at 1:55 PM on September 15, 2004


It's strange. My sister got my father a big, pretty coffee table book on 9-11 for my father on Father's Day. I was baffled and a little horrified, and my family thought it was just a beautiful book. They just didn't get that it was ghoulish looking through all these pictures of destruction. I mean, my family is Canadian, so the whole thing made a slightly lesser impact on them than it would an American, but somehow a tragedy so recent has already become spectacle, already filed away with things like, yeah, the sinking of the Titanic. It's become abstracted already.
posted by picea at 1:57 PM on September 15, 2004


Chocolate Two Towers Coin!

No, this is not a misprint. The chocolate used in each delicious dollar coin is from Ground Zero! You see, when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, a confectioners vault full of .999 Pure Chocolate bars was buried under hundreds of tons of debris. After months of salvage work, many of the bars were found. Now, the same chocolate that was reclaimed from the destruction has been used to create the magnificent 2004 “Freedom Tower” Chocolate Dollar.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:00 PM on September 15, 2004


Hey, this is the country of the hustle. We're (US Mefi'ers, that is) all here because someone back in the day came over to better themselves. If someone isn't trying to make a buck of September 11, the terrorists will have won.

[It is staggeringly tasteless, tho, and I do wonder who buys them. Solidarity doesn't really explain it.]
posted by mojohand at 2:01 PM on September 15, 2004


I think this is a good thing. Face it, if this dirtbag company didn't get their target audience's money, it would have been spent on the Franklin Mint's Curio Cat Collection or non-functioning plates with Rusty Wallace's porno mustache painted on them by Chinese slave labor.

And I'm sick at looking at my American Shorhair cast in fine pewter.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:03 PM on September 15, 2004


Well, I learned that, if you want to sound all smart and everything, you don't say "heads or tails" you say "obverse or reverse" and that's well worth knowing.

As for the 9/11 exploitation, its nothing new, there are bottom feeders circling every tragedy looking for a way to make money off of misery and some of them aren't even lawyers! I'm only kidding, some of my most well compensated friends are lawyers.

People bought those stupid Iraq Cards so this isn't so hard to believe.
posted by fenriq at 2:05 PM on September 15, 2004


Patriot Day. I've been wondering why we haven't made December 7 an official holiday.

The finer bits of the US already celebrate Patriot's Day (OK, OK, it's just Massachusetts and Maine, but still ...).
posted by adamg at 2:08 PM on September 15, 2004


Wow! I had no idea what "obverse" meant. These profiteers are smart people. They should work for Halliburton.
posted by Shane at 2:10 PM on September 15, 2004


Wheeeeee!

You know, I actually saw one of those "Giant Titanic Fun-Slides" at the Nebraska State Fair this year. First thing that crossed my mind was, "What in the fu..." followed shortly by, "So damned tacky."

Bunch of lying sack of shits.

Out of pure curiosity, if the silver used in the coins actually was from some underground bank vault at the WTC, would you be OK with it?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:12 PM on September 15, 2004


I wonder how this company can authenticate that that's where the silver came from. And if they can, I wonder under what circumstances they came to acquire the silver, and how they represented their intentions in the transaction.
posted by Vidiot at 2:22 PM on September 15, 2004


The minting of coin usually insures a collector that the silver is of valuable quality.

Some kind of warped, pathetic desire to be part of tragedy?
Was this company that is selling them located in the Twin Towers? Because I'm wondering whose silver this belongs to.

I'm not going to judge the people that buy them, I'm sure they don't have bad intentions.
5 "Freedom Tower" Silver Dollars $99.00

Assuming the coin's weight is around an ounce, I would since an ounce of silver is currently trading at around 6$.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:22 PM on September 15, 2004


Out of pure curiosity, if the silver used in the coins actually was from some underground bank vault at the WTC, would you be OK with it?
The world's gold was located in vaults deep beneath the Towers[from a storyon Discovery].
Anyone recall a week or two after the tragedy, a large row of armor cars that were driven in below the ruble then out?
posted by thomcatspike at 3:01 PM on September 15, 2004


I saw a commercial for this! It would not stop using the phrase "silver from the World Trade Center," over and over and over and over again. I think it was a long, 1 minute 30 commercial.
posted by inksyndicate at 3:12 PM on September 15, 2004


What bugs me is that in the commercial they kept on saying "clad in 99.9% pure silver from the ruins of the..." etc... They kept on saying "clad".

Is it possible that this isn't even pure silver, but silver plated?

Also, on the page...
"100 Mil .999 Pure Silver "Freedom Tower" Silver Dollar"

"100 Mil"? That's a unit of measurement. A unit of length equal to one thousandth of an inch (0.0254 millimeter).

So, is this silver plated? Or are they just saying the coin is 1/10th of an inch thick?
posted by lockle at 3:57 PM on September 15, 2004


It has a hundred milligrams of silver? I know Mil isn't the abbreviation for milligram, but neither is it for millimeter.
posted by kenko at 4:03 PM on September 15, 2004


In the clip they showed on the Daily show it said it was silver plated.
posted by destro at 4:16 PM on September 15, 2004


It was the most awkward Lewis Black bit ever on the daily show. A couple moments that Lewis was playing for laughs were so wretched that everyone was kind of shocked instead of laughing.

I mean, at the conclusion of the coins bit, everyone just gasps, myself included at home, and Black gets all pissy that no one laughed at the right time, to which Stewart kind of grabs his arm and tells him to calm down and sit down.

It was playing crass for comedy, but the crassness was so far over the top it wasn't really funny at all, just sad.
posted by mathowie at 4:32 PM on September 15, 2004


They shipping on the coin is worth more than the silver content. This coin R.I.P.s, rip off.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:35 PM on September 15, 2004


They
posted by thomcatspike at 4:36 PM on September 15, 2004


So, the thing is silver-plated, and the plating itself only contains (not is) silver from the WTC. I wonder what the total WTC silver content is in the entire minting of this coin? 1/2 oz.?
posted by stonerose at 5:01 PM on September 15, 2004


Yeah, Matt, I noticed that, too. I think it was the first Back in Black I'd seen that just thudded to the ground. I've seen weak ones before, but nothing like this.

I guess it was just a little too crasstastic. Or crasstacular. Or crass-insert-part-of-adjective-here. I hope this company smothers under the weight of angry phone calls and lack of orders.
posted by RakDaddy at 5:05 PM on September 15, 2004



Patriot Day. I've been wondering why we haven't made December 7 an official holiday.

The finer bits of the US already celebrate Patriot's Day (OK, OK, it's just Massachusetts and Maine, but still ...).


Your could come to Rhode Island where we still celebrate victory over the Japanese (VJ DAY!!) every August.
posted by SweetJesus at 5:45 PM on September 15, 2004


a mil is also 1/1000 of a dollar. local property taxes are often expressed as millages. also, if you read the fine print on store or product coupons, they often have a statement something to the effect of "coupon value: 1 mil". for this trinket, i figure the references to "100 Mil" are a cagey way to say without saying that the coin is NOT legal tender, despite the deliberate attempt to confuse by the use of the term "u. s. government issue", and that it has very little silver content and very little inherent value. but hey, it's a shiney thing!
posted by quonsar at 5:47 PM on September 15, 2004


Stupid people love shiny things....
posted by SweetJesus at 5:49 PM on September 15, 2004


At the Gift Shop: Souvenirs of Buchenwald

WEIMAR, Germany - Tourists visiting the city of Goethe and Schiller are bombarded with busts, key chains and other trinkets bearing the likeness of Weimar's two biggest celebrities in nearly every shop.

Just a few miles away, on a swath of wooded hilltop that is the site of the city's most somber tourist attraction, a gift shop offers little more than a wide assortment of books and postcards. For years, the Buchenwald Memorial has preferred to keep it that way.

But in a move that aims to confront the challenge of passing the solemn lessons of the Holocaust on to future generations, the memorial began working with design students at Bauhaus University in Weimar last spring to create what until now had been taboo: concentration camp souvenirs. A sampling of the results, ranging from small plaques to stationery embedded with tiny pebbles and twigs from the site, are to go on sale at the memorial's gift shop in time for the 60th anniversary of the camp's liberation in April...

posted by languagehat at 5:49 PM on September 15, 2004


13 tons of gold bullion and other precious metals -- silver, platinum, palladium -- were buried beneath the collapsed towers, mainly the property of brokers dealing in precious metals futures contracts such as the Bank of Nova Scotia and the New York Board of Trade. It was stored in a warehouse run by New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX, f/k/a COMEX). The precious metals were recovered within six weeks under the highest security.

There were 50 tractor trailers' worth of silver alone (30,000 1,000-ounce silver bars). It was returned to trade on the open market; much of it, apparently, was acquired by the commemoratives market.

Seriously, even stuff that just happened to be in the Customs House has been sold at a tidy markup.

Although it appears that Saipan has authorized CNMI coins produced by private mints, it seems they don't have individual coin approval (and since the CNMI's legal tender is the US dollar, the coins may be illegal tender as it is); some in the Marianas are calling this bad PR.
posted by dhartung at 7:38 PM on September 15, 2004


I think it was the first Back in Black I'd seen that just thudded to the ground.

It happens all the time, could be that the subject matter was just crass enough to give you pause. When Lewis Black nails it, there's no one funnier, but even when he mistimes it a bit (or falls flat on his face), it's still pretty good theater... and miles more amusing than Andy Kaufman ever was.
posted by psmealey at 8:42 PM on September 15, 2004


The boilerplate response I got after emailing them:

Dear Kevin:

Thank you for your comments regarding the Freedom Tower Silver Dollar.

We are aware of the news story that was released by the US Mint. The
National Collector's Mint is an independent, private corporation not
affiliated with the United States Government.

Our Freedom Tower coin has been legally authorized for minting as a
commemorative piece that bears the official logo of the Commonwealth of
Northern Mariana Islands.

National Collector's Mint is proud to have raised over $1.5 million for
September 11th related charities, including the United Way's September 11th
Fund, the Bear Search and Rescue Foundation, the Firefighter's Widow's and
Children's Fund, and the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, through sales of coins
and commemoratives designed to pay tribute to both victims and survivors of
9/11.

Now, as the distributor of the Freedom Tower Silver Dollar, a government
issued coin from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, we are
glad to participate in honoring those who were lost through this special
commemorative.

Thank you for your interest.

Sincerely,

Michael
Customer Service

posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:02 PM on September 15, 2004


I felt really sorry for Lewis Black after watching that segment. He made a mistake: exploitation is the second-to-last stage.

Being able to laugh at exploitation is the last stage. And the audience just isn't there yet.
posted by mmoncur at 11:10 PM on September 15, 2004


I guess it was just a little too crasstastic. Or crasstacular. Or crass-insert-part-of-adjective-here.

Crassinine.
posted by stet at 12:07 AM on September 16, 2004


The sad part is their own channel has that very commerical on it. I saw it later after the segment.

Lewis Black is a true genius.
posted by andryeevna at 12:44 AM on September 16, 2004


more on the 100 mil .999 Pure Silver
posted by LimePi at 1:42 AM on September 16, 2004


I somehow don't find this as offensive as I did the hundreds of tables set up a block away from the WTC site, months after it happened, covered with photo albums of tragedy-porn, flags, and DVDs that played clips of the planes over and over again to patriotic music.

Walking by that on the way to work every day made me seethe.

This just makes me shake my head.
posted by papercake at 9:01 AM on September 16, 2004


This is pretty gross too...
posted by Vidiot at 4:21 PM on September 16, 2004


I just saw Lewis Black a few hours ago at the comedy club. Quite possibly my new rolemodel. He is one of the reasons I chose to minor in Political Science. He's very funny and smart, and he's very nice off stage as well.

On the topic of the coin, how about we lock the dumbasses who thought this was a good idea in a vault under the foundation for the new tower, leading future explorers to discover that at one point, americans had a sense of irony.
posted by Derek at 2:24 AM on September 17, 2004


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