|Little Steven put
out what seemed to us to be a very moving statement on the deaths of firefighters
and police in New York City. You can read it here.
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3.04, 11 August 2001
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City of Ruins
Most people don't know it, but The Hitter publishes in Arlington, Virginia. We went to work yesterday morning focused on the sorts of things that normally preoccupy us. We had a cassette of an old Stones bootleg playing, and we were thinking about our next trip to the Shore.
Most people don't know it, but the Pentagon is located in Arlington, Virginia, too. A lot of people got killed in our hometown yesterday. Nobody knows who yet, but they almost certainly include people who live in our neighborhood and go to our church.
So it was that between 9 and 11 a.m. yesterday, our normal preoccupations were shattered. All day, we tried to figure out which of our Bruce friends worked in lower Manhattan, and whether they were safe. One friend had a sister who worked in one of the World Trade Center towers. Another friend knew a couple who were to be on one of the hijacked flights. All of these people were safe, some in circumstances that can only be described as miraculous.
The Hitter believes that we and our readers should take this day to ask ourselves where precisely this rather strange enthusiasm for Bruce's music ought to fit in the scheme of our lives.
If Bruce Springsteen's music does nothing else at all, it calls us to recognize the dignity of every human being. Yet our appreciation for that music often takes us away from that vision. We become less concerned about our families, our neighbors, and people in need far away. We become more concerned about the new DVD or, frankly, our next trip to the Shore.
The result is that sometimes we live in a funhouse mirror version of the world, where the important things are devalued and the trivial rules. Things that are supposed to be a means toward community become ends of their own. Bruce must see it, and it must scare him sometimes. It certainly scared us, after we were shocked out of our trance yesterday.
We could quote any number of Bruce's lyrics
to discuss the killings in New York and Washington. Some have pointed
to the song cited in the headline above. But the horror of
these attacks make such words seem pointless to us. To tell the truth,
the lyrics that stick in our mind this morning aren't Bruce's, but Bob
Have you heard the news? he said with a grin. The Vice President's gone mad!