Fear for Profit

I watched CNN’s Sept. 11 Remembered the other day. It was well done, depicting, as well as any other program I’ve seen, the great tragedy of that day as told by the people who witnessed it.

In the “climactic” segment, CNN showed the both planes hitting the World Trade Center towers. Repeatedly. From multiple angles.

And then, after the most heartwrenching quote about children who witnessed the attack from a playground, the network cut to a commercial for the Hummer H2.

The commercial is a familiar one. The Hummer is shown rolling, like a tank, through a downtown district. There are no other cars on the street. The female driver casts a fearless glance up at tall buildings. “Mmm, mmm, mmm,” a female voiceover hums, teasingly.

The commercial, in this context, carried an infuriating irony. I won’t venture a guess as to whether this was intentional or not, but the images of the terrorist attacks and the H2 were, in any case, juxtaposed in the minds of the viewer.

The message: It’s a dangerous world, indeed. So if you want to be safe, buy yourself a Hummer. A bona fide mobile fortress, you can take this beast anywhere, and no one can touch you.“SLIP INTO SOMETHING,” viewers are finally implored, “A LITTLE MORE METAL.”

I won’t retread the previously established arguments┬áregarding how America’s 12mpg culture aids the terrorists, except to say the following.

Sometimes, I wonder whether certain people are worthy of the sacrifices of others. These people must already feel safe, indeed, navigating the jungles of suburbia in their Excursions and Suburbans and Escalades, too stupid, apparently, to make the connection between their idiotically decadent lifestyle and the Saudi oil wealth that funds those who attack us.

When I really think about it, something inside me is glad the Hummers burned.

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