Volume 95, Issue 53

Wednesday, December 5, 2001
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Secrecy, subersion and oppression

All too convenient Sept. 11 plugs

All too convenient Sept. 11 plugs

Better late than never
Erin Conway-Smith
News Editor

There is a new rule in effect since Sept. 11.

This rule doesn't have to do with tighter border controls, weird airplane regulations – "no toothpicks or safety pins, ma'am" – or worrying anti-terrorism legislation.

What I'm talking about is the mandatory 9/11 quip. This new rule states: make reference to 'Sept. 11' whenever possible, no matter how much of a stretch it is.

I am not trying to discredit the broad scope of effects the attacks of Sept. 11 have had on our society. Many aspects of daily life have been deeply changed by that tragic day and continue to be affected as war in Afghanistan continues.

My beef with the token 9/11 quote doesn't relate to things that have really been affected by the fall of the World Trade Center. No, what I'm talking about is the bullshit quotes and stories that are stretched to relate back to 9/11 with the intention of getting more play than they deserve.

Articles in The Globe and Mail's 'Style' section have cited 9/11 as the perfect reason to buy trendy 'it' gifts for your friends and family this holiday season – show you really love them in this time of crisis by buying them expensive shit.

According to the National Post's Anne Kingston, 'home wreckers' have become fashionable since Sept. 11. Our new understanding of assault on the homeland has removed the stigma, apparently.

And Ann Dowsett Johnston, did you really need to drop the 9/11 hit in discussing the importance of this year's Maclean's university ratings in The Gazette?

I half expect members of the Social Science Students' Council to give me a 9/11 quote in response to my inquiries about their budget. If I ever get the chance to interview the infamous naked masturbator, I bet even he will feel compelled to mention the Sept. 11 attacks at least once. I can see it now:

Q. Mr. Masturbator, what compels you to jerk off in public whilst wearing a milk bag on your head?

A. Well, Erin, I got into the whole public masturbation thing back in the warm summer months, but since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, I have felt it necessary to continue stroking in order to show Osama he can't keep me from keepin' on with my self-indulgent, Westernized ways. Though, to be perfectly honest, shrinkage is getting to be a real problem, what with the onset of winter and all.

Yeah, the gratuitous 9/11 quip has gotten real old, real fast.

Celebrities have been especially irritating. In case they need any more reason to hog the limelight, 9/11 gives actors and musicians something to talk about that is timely and grounded in the real world. I'm a cynic, it's true, but I think I am justified in being suspicious of benefit gigs that raise the artist's profile more than they raise money for charity.

Sept. 11 has also given legitimacy to things that on Sept. 10 would have been unacceptable.

Tuition increases for Western students in deregulated programs? Administration has blamed it on budget adjustments necessary because of the economic repercussions of 9/11.

Don't like what's going on with trade agreements, the media, Air Canada's near-monopoly? Suck it up, because, you know, 9/11.

Gratuitous Sept. 11 attributions are tacky. There are too many real problems that have resulted from the attacks and any politicians, celebrities and, yes, even journalists who reference the date – if it isn't legitimate – are just trying to pull a fast one in poor taste.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001