Category Archives: NFL 9/11
– Paul Craig Roberts
Ten years gone. The big lies of 9/11, that oh so glorious day in America when the reset button was flipped on over two hundred years and the country flipped full blown fascist were cemented into place forever over the weekend. One of the only institutions more respected by the star-spangled sheep than the blessed military, the National Football League played an enormous part in promulgating the new normal and glorifying the society changing event that has come to be justification for plunder, wars without end, a colossal police state and the undercurrent of anti-Muslim hatred that will soon lead to blood in the streets. It was a day when corporate advertising took full advantage of the exploitation of the 9/11 dead (no mention ever goes to the the tens to hundreds of thousands of foreign civilians murdered by the U.S. military and our allies in the endless and phony war on terror) and used the occasion to pimp their products. Not that this is entirely precedent setting, the Republican party was cashing in on the ‘terrorist’ attacks while the smell of rotting flesh still wafted in on the morning breezes in lower Manhattan. The appropriation of 9/11 by corporations is only the obvious evolution of the moral decay that has a once mighty nation up against the ropes, staggering like a punch drunk palooka and just struggling to avoid the knockout blow.
Being a football fan for years the NFL season opener had long been a festive event. There was beer, parties and barbecues followed by a day spent immersed in football. Not this year, the repulsive promotion of the new American religion of 9/11 was too much for me to take, I spent the majority of the afternoon monitoring the games on the internet. I skipped all of the pregame ceremonies, the usual pregame shows where buffoons like Terry Bradshaw (once accused of being so dumb that he couldn’t spell cat if he was spotted the first two letters) and grinning shit salesman Howie Long would ensure that sports and war metaphors would become interchangeable. FOX’s NFL for example had long been in the war propaganda business, Murdoch the old dog knew fully well that pushing right-wing political agendas would be his bread and butter as his cancerous media empire metastasized across the globe and he knew that faux patriotism and sports sold to the masses. It was on Veteran’s Day weekend back in 2009 that FOX set up it’s NFL show studios in Afghanistan, with all of the assclowns who never wore the uniform in actual service were dressed up in their cammies like fake soldiers. Bradshaw looked the most ridiculous of all, like a bizarre form of movie parody of an out of touch general. Not that FOX is unique, the porcine Peter King was traveling around to NFL camps this year in his militarized motorcoach to cover the warmups to the big 9/11 kickoff party. Peter King being the prolific and long-tenured football writer for Sports Illustrated not the porcine I.R.A. terrorist sponsoring neo-McCarthyist Republican congressman from Long Island. The big 9/11 whoop de doo was the one reason why I absolutely knew that the NFL’s labor strife would be over in time for the big games of Sunday past.
What little football I did watch (I popped in for about ten minutes of the Steelers vs. Ravens game) made me glad that I just skipped the rest. When fuckwad CBS announcer Jim Nance took a cheap shot at Pittsburgh running back Rashard ‘the Fumble Machine’ Mendenhall for his TWITter comments expressing distaste at the unseemly celebrations over bin Laden’s alleged assassination. Nance even seemed to invite violence and harassment to be heaped on Mendenhall throughout the year in making the inference that he could expect to receive hostile receptions on the road. This is what happens when the official state religion of 9/11 needs to deal with heresy, it’s just too primitive to go around and cut people’s tongues out anymore. The games were even more overly militarized than normal, take this account from Glenn Greenwald’s piece The Meaning of Political Rituals Like 9/11 Day:
Not just 9/11 Day but everything connected to it was constructed to deliver and implant a very politicized message, over and over. Consider this email I received from a friend in South Florida after he attended an NFL football game last night in Miami:Let me describe the patriotic display at last night’s NFL opener. Men with machine guns at all entrances, to scare off the terrorists. Pat down on the way in, to make sure [my wife] and I weren’t carrying plastic explosives. A moving national anthem with troops out on the field spelling out U.S.A. A moving tribute to the thousands who perished in 9/11 and to our nation’s brave response to that atrocity (which was, of course, the worst thing that ever happened in the history of the world). A U.S.A., U.S.A. chant. Then a Stealth B2 Bomber flew over the stadium, followed by fireworks. At half time, a US Army paratrooper squad jumped out of a plane and landed on the field. Maybe next week they’ll shoot some missiles from unmanned drones.
Does anyone want to claim with a straight face that these ceremonies are apolitical, devoid of political messaging? Everything about 9/11 — how it’s talked about, how it’s described, how it’s commemorated — is all designed to impart very specific political messages, and that’s been true since the day it happened.
The Fumble Machine wasn’t the only one getting publicly pilloried, New York Times columnist and noted economist Paul Krugman drew the wrath of the establishment for his dead on blog posting on that holiest of days that the post 9/11 era is one of shame not valor, glory and remembrance:
As of today Krugman is a dead man walking, he is so fat a high-value target to the filthy neo-Nazis in the Republican establishment (as well as the rats of the Democratic Obama led corporatists and Wall Street looters) that he will be the new Dan Rather. His bloody scalp will soon be brandished as a trophy, if I were Krugman I would put a lock on my hamper to prevent the underwear sniffing punk Andrew Breitbart or any of his latent pork sword swallowing acolytes from being the ones bearing the tomahawk.
The NFL while wallowing in nationalism and rolling out the military worship barely even paid homage to a true hero, formerly one of their own: Pat Tillman. Tillman left a promising career with the Arizona Cardinals to go and enlist in the Army Rangers after the American Reichstag Fire, it was the patriotic thing to do right? As so much of our current history is a perversely Bizarro reinvention of World War II strained through the electronic crackpipe that is the television Tillman was to place loyalty to country over personal fame and fortune. But 9/11 was not your grandfather’s Pearl Harbor but rather the “New Pearl Harbor” of the cunning, amoral pack of jackal neocons of the Project For The New American Century. Tillman quickly realized that it was all just bullshit and had turned against the wars, who knows what he thought about 9/11 but he was communicating with Noam Chomsky and had a story to tell when he would return home – except he didn’t.
From Dave Zirin on Tillman:
In 2004, President George W. Bush appeared on the Jumbotron at Arizona’s Sun Devil stadium to address the combat death of former NFL player turned Army Ranger, Pat Tillman. Bush said: “Pat Tillman loved the game of football. Yet, as much as Pat Tillman loved competing on the football field, he loved America even more… Courageous and humble, a loving husband and son, a devoted brother and a fierce defender of liberty. Pat Tillman will always be remembered.”But Sunday— while NFL teams around the country commemorated the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks—Pat’s name was only mentioned before the game in Arizona. In stadium after stadium, in pregame show after pregame show, as the NFL’s 9/11 commemoration strategy was rolled out with lockstep discipline, Tillman’s name was conspicuously absent.
George W. Bush certainly got his moment in the spotlight, receiving a standing ovation by 70,000 fans at the Meadowlands. On other football fields, massive flags were unfurled, “official NFL/9/11 logos” were unveiled, soldiers were cheered, Reebok’s “We Will Never Forget” 9/11 gear was worn, and yet it was as if Pat Tillman had never existed.
Adolf Hitler was more interested in the children who would be the future of his thousand year Reich for all that they would know would be his worldview. It is very similar her in Der Heimat. Our youngest citizens have known nothing other than the fear, fascism, hatred and perpetual warfare that were set into motion ten years ago. They will grow to adulthood in a society where airport checkpoints manned by drooling government goons and the ever present all-seeing eyes of Big Brother are a part of daily life. On Sunday they even trotted out the war criminal George W. Bush as though he were some sort of fucking dignitary despite the truth that after spending the morning of 9/11 with his nose buried in My Pet Goat and then flying around the country on Air Force One like some sort of chickenshit while the treasonous Cheney and Rummy were running the show. And when it comes to chickenshits who has anything on that diseased little turd Eric Cantor, the bespectacled Virginia Republican Majority Leader whose face looks like the logo on the New England Patriots helmet. In an act as brazenly shameless as corporations using 9/11 tributes to sell hamburgers and other crap Cantor took a break from screening anti-Muslim propaganda films on behalf of his Israeli buddies to introduce HR 391 – the resolution to “Never Forget” 9/11, or rather the official big lie of 9/11. In true GOP fashion it was another ghoulish use of the dead to push their decidedly fascist, anti-American political agenda. Then again, pissing on the 9/11 dead is nothing new to the Republicans who had the most kick ass club in the bag once the war criminal Bush grabbed a megaphone and climbed atop that pile of debris at “Ground Zero” while the rubble was still smoldering. As H.L. Mencken once remarked, “imagine a gentleman and you will have imagined everything that he is not”.
I could go on and on about the dishonor of America’s behavior in the aftermath of 9/11 but what’s the point? It was a lamentable display of all that his country has come to stand for that was force fed to us all last weekend, the corporate NFL’s corpse humping being the cherry on top of the shit cake. Guys like Krugman and Chris Hedges had the best takes but there were many, many others who saw this travesty as the charade that it truly was. Hedges, always with a unique perspective flayed the myth by reintroducing the “jumpers” or those who perished in the World Trade Center towers but have been erased from collective memory by a treacherous media. Hedges’ 9/11 10th Anniversary piece is entitled A Decade After 9/11: We Are What We Loathe and I excerpt the following:
The south tower went down around 10 a.m. with a guttural roar. Huge rolling gray clouds of noxious smoke, dust, gas, pulverized concrete, gypsum and the grit of human remains enveloped lower Manhattan. The sun was obscured. The north tower collapsed about 30 minutes later. The dust hung like a shroud over Manhattan.
I headed toward the spot where the towers once stood, passing dazed, ashen and speechless groups of police officers and firefighters. I would pull out a notebook to ask questions and no sounds would come out of their mouths. They forlornly shook their heads and warded me away gently with their hands. By the time I arrived at Ground Zero it was a moonscape; whole floors of the towers had collapsed like an accordion. I pulled out pieces of paper from one floor, and a few feet below were papers from 30 floors away. Small bits of human bodies—a foot in a woman’s shoe, a bit of a leg, part of a torso—lay scattered amid the wreckage.
Scores of people, perhaps more than 200, pushed through the smoke and heat to jump to their deaths from windows that had broken or they had smashed. Sometimes they did this alone, sometimes in pairs. But it seems they took turns, one body cascading downward followed by another. The last acts of individuality. They fell for about 10 seconds, many flailing or replicating the motion of swimmers, reaching 150 miles an hour. Their clothes and, in a few cases, their improvised parachutes made from drapes or tablecloths shredded. They smashed into the pavement with unnerving, sickening thuds. Thump. Thump. Thump. Those who witnessed it were particularly shaken by the sounds the bodies made on impact.
The images of the “jumpers” proved too gruesome for the TV networks. Even before the towers collapsed, the falling men and women were censored from live broadcasts. Isolated pictures appeared the next day in papers, including The New York Times, and then were banished. The mass suicide, one of the most pivotal and important elements in the narrative of 9/11, was expunged. It remains expunged from public consciousness.
The “jumpers” did not fit into the myth the nation demanded. The fate of the “jumpers” said something so profound, so disturbing, about our own fate, smallness in the universe and fragility that it had to be banned. The “jumpers” illustrated that there are thresholds of suffering that elicit a willing embrace of death. The “jumpers” reminded us that there will come, to all of us, final moments when the only choice will be, at best, how we will choose to die, not how we are going to live. And we can die before we physically expire.
The shock of 9/11, however, demanded images and stories of resilience, redemption, heroism, courage, self-sacrifice and generosity, not collective suicide in the face of overwhelming hopelessness and despair.
Hedges’ piece evokes an account of the Triangle Shirt Factory Fire, another bit of history that has been revised to the benefit of the rapacious looter capitalist state. Even in their gruesome war justifying lies, lies responsible now for ten years of death and torture, human misery and looting the treasury Americans love their subterfuge sunny side up. People jumping out of a burning building and going SPLAT doesn’t fit that mindset, the mindset of a lemming, a lemming now in freefall down the rabbit hole, and it still doesn’t understand that the rabbit hole is a grave.