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Is it that day again?

I think humour is a wonderful way to deal with issues so big that sentimental words seem grotesque.  Give me "Achmed the Dead Terrorist" over maudlin speeches on the radio any day.

The British seem to have developed a dark sense of humour over being bombed and such for quite a while (I remember all sorts of bomb scares and actual bombs when I was a child, and was evacuated from buildings so often it became routine), and I think I have that coping mechanism ingrained. 

I remember after the bombings in London a few years ago, I heard the first joke within 2 hours of the event, and it was "Boy, the French must be really pissed about not getting the Olympics".  I lauged, even though my mother and brother were in London, commuting at the time of the bombings.  Heck, my brother probably made a very similar joke.

Let us laugh, and love, and not sit paralyzed with fear and second-guessing.  Life is to be lived.

Comments

( 22 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
rufinia
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
I think one of the first comments I saw from a Londoner on the subject of the bombings was "We've been bombed by a more competent brand of terrorist than this for years. Amatures."


attack_laurel
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC)
Heh. Word.
(Deleted comment)
sarahbellem
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
I was stuck in the tube during the bombings. That whole event really hammered home a few things to this American dilettante...

1) The British are much better equipped at dealing with terrorism than Americans. No one freaked out, despite the constant stream of uncensored media coverage coming out of Kings Cross in the first three hours.

2) The jokes were much better (they immediately revived the old Canary Warf bombing comment of "we've been bombed by a better class of bastard than you" which restored my faith in humanity).

3) Take the London Underground out of the equation and absolutely no one in London can get from one place to another. Indeed, take the tube out, and no one even knows where they actually are. It was comforting knowing that even as a foreigner, everyone was just as confused as I was as how to get from Sloane Sq. to Victoria Station, one tube stop away.

4) The time it takes from everyone studiously ignoring one another on the typical tube ride to actually chatting and laughing with one another is approximately 35 minutes in a sweltering underground tunnel.

I understand that having experienced that attack on the ground level, as it were, it changed me. But it didn't terrorize me, scare me, or intimidate me. And I saw that in everyone around me.
gwynubis
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
<3 the icon :D
sarahbellem
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)

I picked it up on LJ the day of the bombings, and now I keep it around for when I'm in need of a little perspective. And tea, obviously, fixes everything.

(BTW, Snopes actually has an entry on the origin of the icon, if you're interested)
my_stitching
Sep. 11th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
My husband works in counter-terrorism. He has seen things that are truly horrible. However, he is also the first to crack a joke about it.
kass_rants
Sep. 11th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
One of my first thoughts (after the shock) was, "This happens everyday in countries at war. Lebanon and Bosnia experienced this kind of terror daily. Berlin and London too. We've been so sheltered!"

Let us laugh, and love, and not sit paralyzed with fear and second-guessing. Life is to be lived.

Amen!
perilousknits
Sep. 11th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, that was kind of my thought too. What shocked me was not that we were attacked, but that it didn't happen more often or earlier.

I was in shock and mourning for several days afterwards, but I never got the knee-jerk desire for revenge that other people felt. It actually made me angry that so many people who had/have zero compassion for those living in war-torn countries, were all righteously indignant about such a thing happening in their own country. Hypocrites.
nicolaa5
Sep. 11th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
I guess the surprising thing to me was the scale of the thing. I think Britain has had a longer history with both small-t terrorism (e.g. IRA bombings that kill 3, not 3000) and war on their home soil. Having read and seen a number accounts of the Blitz, I'm always astonished how they managed to persevere.

The US really had very little history of terrorism per se on US soil. There was the earlier WTC bombing, but that's about it. There was Oklahoma City, but that was more the work of a lone nutbar (with help from some friends) than a real terrorist movement. And war on US soil? Unless you count territories such as the Phillipines, that would be the Civil War. Not really recent for most people.

We really are sheltered. Even more so here in Canada.
nicolaa5
Sep. 11th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC)
I was just thinking about that "war on US soil" thing and then remembering Pearl Harbor. And then I remembered....in 1941, Hawaii was not yet a state.

jljonsn
Sep. 11th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
I thought it was interesting that in "Stranger in a Strange Land", Heinlein's lead character, in the process of learning to be human, proposes that humour comes from pain, and that laughter is a coping mechanism to keep us from crying.
hsifeng
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
I think that is a universal response among healthy people. Mark Twain said it best, “Is the human race cheerful? You know it is. Considering what it can stand, and be happy, you do me too much honor when you that that [someone] can place before it a system of plain cold facts that can take the cheerfulness out of it. Nothing can do that. Everything has been tried. Without success. I beg you not to be troubled.”

You know what I learned on September 11, 2001? That the world is a much smaller place, filled with much more loving people and far more compassion than I ever thought possible.

All the ‘fear’ that got imposed on the event later is a sad reminder that terror is a far easier mechanism for controlling population than hope. But easier does not mean better, and hope always comes back around.

Fuck Fear. Have Hope.

“I kill you…”
kass_rants
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC)
Fuck Fear. Have Hope.

Best quote evaaaaaaa! =)
hsifeng
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
*HUGS*
akgnome
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
i wish other people could understand this. i've been ripped by people for making jokes at maudlin times (DC sniper...joke in the firehouse was 'two steps forward, 3 steps back...he can't hit a moving target.') then again, firefighters and EMTs tend to the dark side of humor anyway...

as for 9/11...i get a little depressed on this day every year, but i used to play at the houses of some of the people who died that day. no to mention the whole FF connection. but the only way my life has changed is that i tell people how i feel much more often now. you never know...

btw...LOVE achmed....
_medb_
Sep. 11th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
I was also working in a government library that had a letter scare (before 9/11)- we had a letter full of blue powder sent to the minister's office. Someone in IT sent an email out with a characature (sp?) of the minister opening a packet of cool aid and freaking out- I thought it was hilarious, though some people hated it (this was sent out after everything had ended). I find humour tends to help in situations like that, since we had everyone from the Dept. of Defense in our building and camped out in our library for the day (and the rumours we heard within the building were worse than what the media was saying).
One of my favourite sayings that we kept saying around the office during tense times (previous job, and not in that particular library) comes from posters during WW2 in England- Keep Calm and Carry On. :)
chargirlgenius
Sep. 12th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. There is incredible power in humor to help cope, to diminish the bad-ness of the enemy, and to make life a little more livable.

I’ve heard people say “Terrorists/Nazis aren’t funny.” No, what they do isn’t funny in the least. But if we can joke about it, we can lessen the psychological impact of what they do. I’m fond of satire, unfortunately, sometimes people look at me askance about it. :-/

See Entry: Hogan’s Heroes. ;-)

Totally OT – Thank you for those Moon Drops, btw. When I got home from the event, I’d put them in a safe place to take upstairs. Jeff put them in a safer place, and I finally found them. I don’t know if it was the Moon Drops, but last night as I was drifting off I was very much in that traveling-through-space-and-time version of consciousness. Any idea if there are any drug interactions? I’m also on muscle relaxers and a few other things, so I’m trying to be mindful of it.
attack_laurel
Sep. 16th, 2008 10:16 am (UTC)
As far as I know, the amounts in the homeopathic medicines are too small to cause any serious interaction (i.e., if you're already relaxed with muscle relaxers, these will simply make you a little more so mentally), but ask your doctor just in case.

However, I've used them for a while without ill effects, and you know how much stuff I take. :) I just can't take them on a weeknight because I can't get anything close to 8 hours of sleep.

corsetrasewing
Sep. 12th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
heh I was on a plane yesterday. yeah just now getting to my f-list. didn't notice any extra special security
dream_wind
Sep. 14th, 2008 02:38 am (UTC)
I agree completely, and I think many people who have lived through terrors would agree with you. The many variations on "Colonel Bogey" show how humour helped the British through the worst of WWII.

I'm starting to do more and more SCA collegia, and I always try to come up with a humourous subtitle. Currently I'm working on one about torture in the medieval period, which spawned one about the early modern witch hunts (the members of my Barony are sickos - this all started as an A&S project). I thought long and hard about how to work humour into these subjects, and whether I should. The laughter argument won, so the torture one is subtitled "Puttin' on the hurt" and the witch hunt one is subtitled "They weighed less than ducks."
clothier16c
Sep. 14th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)
That Day Again
I agree with the original and the subsequent comments. I learned years ago that humor helps during tough times. At 21 I was told I'd never walk again (it was before the age of artificial hips). Rather than being gloomy during the year that followed I decided you can laugh at Life and be more fun to be around or you can be a gloomy watering pot which is very tiring and unpleasant for anyone who comes near you.

So keep joking world - it takes less effort and fewer muscles than frowning! And it infuriates the baddies (who mostly have no sense of humor whatsoever).

Incidentally the surgery worked and I could do anything except downhill ski - horseback ride, whitewater canoe, hike, dance, etc.

( 22 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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