Monday, September 06, 2004

A "Victim" of 9/11

In his latest Bleat, James Lileks as usual demonstrates little patience for the pompous, pseudo-intellectual, Anti-American idiocy of our chattering classes. In particular, Lileks skillfully dissects the mind-boggling stupidity of Maus author Art Spiegelman:

Art’s latest book has been serialized in Die Zeit and the Forward; no doubt good Germans were pleased by this panel, from "Shadow of No Towers.". Take a look. It features Spiegelman in Maus form, of course, as if the experience of the American Jew is the same as the European version, and requires no alteration of the metaphor. Our Hero was “(e)qually terrorized by Al-Qaeda and by his own government,” he writes of himself, and if there was any doubt that he had just revealed himself to be a hysterical fool, he gives us a four-panel account of his facial hair variations, filed under “Notes of a Heartbroken Narcissist.” Because when it came to New York after 9/11, it was all Art for Art’s Sake.

Note the poster that proclaims his brain “Missing, last seen in Lower Manhattan, mid-September 2001. Metaphorically missing, of course. Some other posters hinted towards more literal absences, but really, let’s not quibble about the nature of victimhood, shall we? Dead or alive, we were all dispossessed. In a way, the living envied the dead, because the dead didn't have to draw pictures about how they felt. Again, speaking to the Milanese paper:

Q. Do you consider yourself a victim of September 11?

A. "Exactly so. From the time that the Twin Towers fell, it seems as if I've been living in internal exile, or like a political dissident confined to an island. I no longer feel in harmony with American culture, especially now that the entire media has become conservative and tremendously timid.”

Exactly so. Really. Victim. Victim. Victim. Victim. Then there’s Art, who is “like a political dissident confined to an island.” Granted, he can leave any time he pleases, because, well, he’s alive, and free to come and go as he pleases. Otherwise it's indistinguishable from a coffin. Or a gulag barrack.

Yes, it's difficult indeed for me to read about poor Art's victimhood, stuck in this horrible country of ignorant, unthinking buffoons led by that awful chimp cowboy. Still, we must find the courage to go on:

"Sometimes, I think I would like to emigrate to Europe; and seeing that in America they won't even let me smoke, the temptation is very great."

You wonder what his old man would have thought. The sage of Rego Park, the stooped, cantankerous, parsimonious old hardhead who survived the horrors of the camp and made it to suburban America. And now his son wants to go to Europe to be safe. You are meshuggah, Richieu. You want to go back so you can smoke? Trust me, they let you smoke.

Europe is only too happy to see a Jew smoke. They even built special places where they could do it together.

Do yourself a favor and read it all.


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