They called it the “flight of heroes.” Those were the brave men and women of United Airlines Flight 93 who gave their lives to make sure that alone of the four planes hijacked on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Flight 93 never quite accomplished all of the murderous mission that its hijackers had in mind.
Let’s cut all the phony emoting and sterile metaphorizing about Flight 93, shall we? Nobody knows what happened to the poor passengers on that plane. Nobody knows what they did, what they thought, or what they felt. Contrary to the scenarios currently being purveyed by some of my posturing scrivening peers, this is what I believe happened. I address myself particularly to my scrivening peers.
Of course I admire the passengers who tried to take the plane back from the worthless psychopaths who hijacked it. But I believe that they tried to wrest back control of the plane because they were trying to save themselves, not because they intended to sacrifice their lives to save the lives of people in Washington. That doesn’t make them selfish. That doesn’t diminish their bravery. That makes them attached to life. It is obscene to remember them only on the condition that they acted in a way that flatters our imaginations. We live in a society in which self-interest and selfishness so often go hand in hand that when we encounter a healthy and profound instance of the former, we want to cover it up under a lie about human nature, perhaps out of guilt over our own relentless selfishness….
What I would like to see is a different kind of movie about Flight 93. I would like to see a movie showing a passenger–of whatever gender, race or age–sitting in his seat in anguish and terror, at times weeping for his precious life, sitting in anger and terror over the possibility of never seeing the people he loves again, of not living beyond that moment. That would be the film. It should be as long as Flight 93 lasted. It would not lend itself to heavy lucubrations about heroism or cowardice, or to 9/11 metaphors, or to big symbolic meanings encompassing the rise and fall of civilizations and Conclusions To Be Drawn From The Menace We Face. It would be about fragile, inestimable life, about the bare truth of that, which is beyond any meaning we impose on it. As a society, we need to remember that life is nakedly, ineffably precious before it takes the form of any of the other things it inevitably has to be.
Can you do that, my scrivening peers?
No, but I’d sure like to see a movie about a pompous twit who addresses people as “my scrivening peers” getting dumped out of a moving airplane.
Doesn’t Siegel’s post tell you everything you need to know about our liberal elites?
In their world, there is no such thing as heroism or selflessness or risking your life for other people. In their world, there is only a selfish, preening, cowering, quivering Me, weeping with self-pity over the fact that–guess what?–we are all mortal. There is nothing beyond “the moment,” nothing beyond naked self-interest, no admiration for those who steeled themselves, said a prayer, and did what they could to storm the cabin and perhaps save their fellow passnegers, perhaps save their nation’s capital.
These are the people who claim to be so morally superior to the rest of us.