Thursday, September 11, 2003

Geez. What an active day...

By: Michael Akerman

Honestly, it was. New blog subjects popped up left and right.

So, boys and girls, dudes and chicks: let's end with the mental and begin mundane. Stare at the screen and prepare for the strain as we delve into the realm of a high school brain. It's time for some blogging, so just sit right there, and pay close attention to the "when"s, "how"s, and "where"s. I guess I'll get started, now that I have the time, if only I could learn how to stop writing in rhyme...

Like I said, the most mundane subject today:

New blog features!

Hooray for me! There are new blogging features (including spellcheck. Watch out, world! Michael's computer can spell for him!).

Now, on to a more mental capacity.

The Terror and the Tragedy: Two Years Past

As I'm sure you well know, today is September 11th. I salute those who died in the cowardly attack on our country two years ago. May they rest in peace and be praised in heaven.

This morning we had a flag ceremony honoring the 9/11 victims. It was a simple ceremony, requiring less than five minutes of one's life to take part in. Many came, although I'm sure a lot more would have if they had known about it (I only found out because I was sitting by the front door). My best friend Philip, however, was trying to convince me that we shouldn't have a flag ceremony for the victims of 9/11, and that we weren't honoring our country by doing so. He said that it was not an attack against our country, but rather only affected three states.

Another friend of mine, Justin, tried to convince me that we shouldn't have a national holiday on September 11th because "that's what the terrorists wanted" (referring to wanting to shut down our economy).

This obviously sounds terrible of them to say. Justin's statement was only made because he didn't fully carry out his logic process. Obviously, the terrorists didn't want to shut us down for a day. Rather, they were symbolizing their desire to shut us down forever. We do, in fact, need a holiday to honor those fallen.

Philip's statements still troubled me. I found myself wondering how he could say that the attacks only affected three states. Finally, it occurred to me. I'm convinced that Philip, like many Americans, is simply coping with 9/11 by objectifying it. He retreats into the realm of logic to avoid pain, much like how the physical body goes into a coma to avoid pain. He simply affirmed this for me when, at lunch, he said he felt sad for the victims just like he does when anyone dies, but no more so than a normal, natural death.

I caution people not to be angry with people who take strange measures to cope with a tragedy. It's simply a mechanism, like religion or humor, to get through tough things.

Now, another thing that bothers me about 9/11 reports and media coverage is how media personnel say that America changed after September 11th, 2001. They say the citizens became more patriotic and compassionate. I disagree.

Americans have always been patriotic and compassionate toward their fellow men, but had no focal point for these traits. September 11th was a tragedy of such magnitude that it served as a banner of sorts, a modern-day "Remember the Alamo." Our country's citizens rallied behind this standard, ready to fight for justice and work for harmony.

Interestingly, this is, in fact, a normal American reaction. The Revolutionary War instilled in the populace a permanent penchant for doing whatever is necessary to keep our rights. The most obvious example of this, besides September 11th, was World War II. In this rare case, our very system of government was threatened. Our fundamental principles were in danger of being compromised. A huge wave of patriotic action spread out and, though we look on it with disdain now, on through the anti-Communism era of the 1950s.

The very same happened two years ago. The terrorists of September 11th, 2001 presented a threat to our fundamental right of relative safety. The attack was impossible to predict, and killed randomly. We, as Americans, could not let our right to safety and happiness fall to the wayside.

The country took up a standard then, not only of retribution, but of giving. We took it upon ourselves to restore peace to our shores by helping our fellow man. Like the period after World War II, we are still experiencing the effects of this great patriotic revival. Likely, this trend will continue for many years, although with almost assuredly better results. Last time, we fought for our government. This time, we fight for our happiness.

A Case Study

Maggie Dewar told me about her blog yesterday, and I read the same last night. It struck me after reading it that she is far too hard on herself, and subsequently, I realized why.

For reference, you can read her blog yourself, here:

Maggie's Blog

There, if you're through reading it, I'm sure you can see that she (reportedly) has an awful love life and everything seems to go badly for her. Knowing Maggie personally, I must say, she's wrong.

Maggie's sister was near the top of her class (if not the top. I don't recall exactly). She was absolutely amazing in the subject of English, and did fantastically in school. She is a nice girl by all accounts, pleasant and interesting to talk to. She goes to Duke University.

Madeline (Maggie's sister) is tough to compare oneself to. Throughout her life, as is the case for all siblings, Maggie has most likely been comparing herself, at least sub-consciously, to Madeline.

We are all our own worst critics, and Maggie most assuredly misrepresented herself (she does so in her blog, too). Maggie is a wonderful girl. She is smart and interesting, and as lively as anyone I've ever known. In my opinion, she is quite fetching by any standard.

Maggie, I'm sure, felt she could not match up to her sister (although this is false), on whom praise has been strewn profusely. Usually, this would result in inter-sibling dislike. Maggie's case is complicated, though.

Maggie's sister is her best friend. She would tell her anything, and trust her with anything. She does not wish to feel any animosity to the sister she loves so much, yet does. Maggie sees fit (subconsciously, mind you) to punish herself. She reflects the animosity toward her sister onto her social, home, and love life.

Take, for instance, Gohar. Gohar was Maggie's boyfriend last year (according to Maggie, I was the one who broke them up). According to Maggie, Gohar constantly cheated on her. They would fight often and generally did not have a very happy relationship. Maggie reports that she wanted to not want Gohar, but couldn't. She says she would fall in love with him again each time she saw him.

This flip-flop love life points to a self-mutilation complex. Whenever she viewed her relationship with Gohar in a truly logical sense, she realized that the relationship was a mistake. However, when she let herself over to her sub-conscious, she would revert back to her self-mutilation. Maggie carries out this same sequence in countless other situations, from wondering if she's ruining a relationship with her father while hating him anyways to arranging herself in situations where she cannot date a satisfactory boyfriend.

I was going to post one more subject today, but this is really long already, so I'll do it sometime later.

~Michael Akerman,
...I hope you enjoyed...