Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 +6

I doubt I’ll write about September 11th again. Six years on, everything that can be said on the subject has already been said. (Except for, “I’m sorry for using 9/11 as an excuse for an unjustified war against Iraq.” But that’s really hoping for too much.) I know I pretty much wrote my share last year.

And with the passage of time, the day is slowly losing its impact. On September 11th, 2002, I wrote a pained editorial for The Daily Sundial asking, “When will we laugh again on this tragic date?” Twelve hours later, David Letterman answered that question by doing a short tribute to the Twin Towers, then launching into a Top Ten list that skewered New York City. September 11th has been much less somber since, and I’d say that’s a good thing.

While the September 11th anniversary will likely top our local and national news coverage, I’m not aware of any major prime time tributes this year. In another six years, there will be junior high school students who weren’t even born when the 9/11 attacks happened. To them, 9/11 will be like Pearl Harbor Day: a date that was to live in infamy forever, but is really only talked about by old people.

If you want to know how much things have changed, look no farther than the latest Osama bin Laden tape. They used to have the power to send oil prices through the roof, but this latest one almost seems a little silly. In it, bin Laden didn’t threaten the U.S. with any more attacks, but he did urge all Americans to convert to Islam.

It appears Osama has learned that a decades long campaign of murder and terror hasn’t earned him many converts here in the states. So it’s time to soften the message. I know a little something about all this, as I was once a Mormon missionary and spent two years trying to convince people to convert to my religion.

Our early attempts at terror-based conversion had limited results.(You have a lot of questions about this picture, but I don’t have time to answer them. Suffice it to say that everything in the above image would make sense if you had all the background.)

But then we softened our message a little bit, ran some very touching TV ads, and things went a lot better. For instance, instead of putting threatening videos on TV, might I suggest bin Laden produce a 30 second spot that goes a little like this:

“Sure, you know about Christ’s ministry in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, but did you know about another book that mentions Jesus: the Koran! Call this toll free number now and we’ll sent you your very own copy of the Koran free of charge. If you’d like, two nice, non-threatening young men can come by your home and tell you more about the Koran.”

Laugh if you want but there’s an urban legend floating around that bin Laden was spotted in Utah. Can it be much longer before his minions start going door-to-door?

“Hello, I’m Elder bin Laden, and this is Elder Atta. We’re representatives of… well, that’s not all that important. We’re going around your neighborhood sharing a brief message about…”

I don’t know what happens next because that’s generally when people shut the door. But this new era of proselytizing by al-Qaeda could lead to a promising new era where extremists are merely annoying instead of deadly. An if that happens, perhaps we don't have to devote much time to commemorating 9/11 in the future.

And if they need any ill-fitting white shirts, I’ve got plenty in a box somewhere.

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At 7:11 pm, Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

This may be the last year you write about it but, honestly, when will we stop *thinking* about it, every September 11th?

All the more difficult with "the war" still going on.


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