Yesterday, two new comic books from the “New 52” relaunch of DC Comics provoked some online controversy: Catwoman and Red Hood and the Outlaws. They were controversial in particular because of the way they depicted women, notably with the aggressively fanfictiony on-panel sex between Batman…
I thought this deserved a note rather than a short post. Its been ten years after all. Strange how life sends you on a meandering course and sometimes throws you back into the same place you may have been years before. I was asked by a student “Sir do you feel any different now that you’ve been at McCann 11 years?” I couldn’t answer. “Feel different” is a broad term. I figured that I feel fine, that a job is a job, but I certainly feel that I have been around the block. George Lucas once said in his unauthorized autobiography that being at USC was like being in a war, at the end after the charge you looked around and saw those who made it and you were happy: “Hey you made it! Great!” But you were sad with those who didn’t. In 2001 I had been at McCann almost 3 years and only two people have remained in McCann till now, the “Whew you made it group” Testament to the industry that we live in.
There is a reason why I’m meandering in this note, the reason is thus: in 2001 life changed for everyone. The world changed. The internet was in transition between a failed business experiment, to a solid repository of knowledge, radio and television were still the major way of getting news and in those days the only TV with cable was in the Production Room set off from the creative department. I remember it like it was yesterday. David Spicer listening to his old beat up radio called out to Adrian Chandler and said “Adrian, the World Trade Center’s on fire!” And turned up the radio. All of us ran to the Sound Room and Malcom turned up the volume. I’ll never forget the image, 10 seconds after that we saw the second plane.
The rest is history, it was like disaster porn, everyone was constantly checking the radio, the tv. I thought of my best friend’s sister who was working close to the Pentagon when I heard that it too was on fire. We heard about Flight 93 in passing, “A plane has crashed” then the towers fell. That day the world lost its innocence. We had been promised the new world, information technology was to bring us closer, we were pulling ourselves out of ignorance and fear, we were going to make it.
Later in the days to come it became apparent that a few Trini’s were in the towers and in true Trini fashion a rumor (spread by email) spoke of how one survived by “surfing the rubble to the bottom” In the truth it was a woman, who was FOUND in the rubble through a miracle and relatively unhurt. The news went around the media, “God IS a Trini!” But we had to remember the hundreds of other Caribbean nationals who died on that day. Burnt to death, fell to their death, crushed. But like the people we are we made jokes, spoke light of it, to hide our horror. Then came the arguments: “Its because of poverty! No Islam is evil!, No! Its the United States that made this happen to themselves!” then came the conspiracy theories: “They blew themselves [The US] Up.” “The Government wanted to go to war.” And so on.
In the intervening years life has moved on but like all scars sometimes it itches. The recent “taking down of Osama” did provide some closure, BUT does it balance the scales from Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib? Does Sadam’s “We got him” and subsequent hanging make up for the THOUSANDS of innocent lives lost? Maybe, but in the end we take off our shoes, we deny mother’s breast-milk and we can’t eat food on planes so that we can make sure this doesn’t happen again.
I was told once, to conclude, that if someone wants to kill you badly enough, he will succeed. I think in light of our recent State of Emergency here, it mirrors the fears on both sides of the fence in the US, do we give up our freedom for security? I firmly believe in the philosophy of Robert E. Heinlien in his book Starship troopers: To understand freedom you have to learn to die for it, to respect the rule of democracy you have to learn to earn the right to use it. As for my time at McCann, yes I have changed, I have become less innocent, seen things no other artist should see, been in situations that called upon my biggest reserves of Spiritual and Emotional power, but I’m one of the few who reached the other side of the battlefield and said, “Whew, I made it… duck… snipers on the roof… “
and life goes on…
Here’s to all that lost their lives on this day ten years ago. Never forget.
Credit: I am trying to find the credit for the above photo. My internet has been sketchy, if you know who took this photo please reblog and tell me. Thanks
Where were you in 1996? If you were in cyberspace, surfing the World Wide Web, chances are you were waiting a long time for pages to load, laughing at the first Internet meme and suffering through some god-awful graphics. My, how times have changed! While some of you weren’t even born yet, I …