Monday, September 11, 2006

Fall down go boom


Let's be honest: The World Trade Center is not the first time we've watched the tower crumble to the ground. The image is one of our culture's oldest. Let's review: the Tower of Babel - it fell, a smackdown by God for human arrogance. Apparently, we were trying to rely on masonry techniques to get all the way to heaven. Gibberish resulted.

Later, in the fifteenth century Tarot, the Falling Tower card shows a castle struck by lightning, and sometimes getting blitzed with dragon breath. The card is interpreted widely in folk psychology circles as a violent shift in our lives caused by - you guessed it - hubris.

There's even a similiar myth in Celtic history, based around King Vortigern, who ruled around 460 AD. Legend tells he was unable to complete his castle tower; it continued to collapse because it was built on an underground lake, underneath which two sleeping dragons laid. In the end, Vortigern and his men are killed by a lightning storm, a curse made to order by a Druidic priestess. Why Vortigern? Turns out he seized power of England by killing the young king Constanc, when Vortigern was pretending to be his advisor. Yep, more hubris and duplicity.

Well, what possibly could the World Trade Center's fall have to do with hubris and duplicity? What is it about the tower of commerce that is unstable? Top-Heavy? Over-inflated? The same warnings can be found today on the back side of the sunvisor in any SUV - "WARNING: This vehicle is ridiculous and it's only a matter of time before it rolls over."

But we're not rolling over, of course. We're staying the course. It's no longer the War on Terror, remember. Cheney announced earlier this year that the US is involved in "The Long War." Okay, that's cool, that's got the ring of history, unlike the ill-fated previous name for this conflict "the Global Struggle against Violent Extremism." (This is when our enemy was identified as radical Islam, which made me snort milk out of my nose). Interestingly, in Orwell's 1984, Emmanuel Goldstein says:

"It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist."

So I went to a craft store today and ended up buying an eleven dollar puzzle, made in Russia, called "Round Castle Tower." My plans for the rest of the afternoon are basically to watch 1984, build a plastic tower, and maybe re-traumatize myself with CNN's sweet pipeline of tower-falling footage - which Nerve blogger Clayton James Cubitt calls "9/11 porn".

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your teeth.

1 comment:

Gorvil The Destroyer said...

I remember when George Lucas was reissuing the Star Wars franchise with beefed-up digital F/X in 1997. There was a lot of hype about it at the time. Lucas had always said that the original Star Wars trilogy was something like 25-30% of what his Vision for those films was. Bizarre. (Why even make it if it's so incomplete?) And so now We The People were supposed to be really wowed because, you know, we'd soon be able to see a crappy CGI Jabba The Hutt actually slither across the ground to a non-CGI Harrison Ford frozen forever in 1977. I was doing a lot of barbecuing and cannibus-imbibing back in those days, and also watching a lot of t.v. And I remember watching a television special on the CGI F/X team working on Lucas' opus (which never seems to be finished. The fucker just keeps adding alternate versions, remastered scenes, director's cuts, and so on. Sheesh! Let it go, man!). One of the guys was explaining that Jabba scene - and I'll never forget this - and he explained how difficult it was for his crew to make a CGI Jabba since a creature of Jabba's magnitude would be, technically, unable to exist. Jabba is simply too fat. He'd topple. But the way the bespectacled CGI brat said it was this: "He would collapse under his own girth." I happened to be videotaping the event, and subsequently re-wound that part over and over, laughin' my fool head off. My intoxicated fool head. My barbecue drunk fool head. My Kali Yuga fool head. "He would collapse under his own girth!" Lord have mercy! Well, I reckon that's what the Tower sayeth to man - that if we get too swollen-up, we'll topple over...and then Lucas will have to come along and make digital carbon copies of us that actually work, like when they airbrushed Michael Stipe's face for Eponymous. 'Cept it'd look fake, but at least it'd get him off his frickin' Sisyphus-like trial of endless re-writes. All right, pirate. Thanks for a very informative blog! You're doing the good thing.