Terrorizing Thoughts

What passes for logic in the wake of September 11th.

Depressing things I've learned in the past few weeks:

· This is taking a lot longer than I would have liked. Hey, I've read all the spy novels, I've seen all the movies. I know things take time, but this is getting ridiculous. The way things are going, by the time they catch up with the bum, it'll be because he's in a walker by then. And the way people's attention spans are these days, when they announce that they got him, half the country is going to say "Osama who?"

· People are willing to argue over just about anything. Last week there was a huge debate over whether those who actually flew the planes into the buildings were "cowards." Some people claimed that "coward" was the wrong word, that one has to have a certain amount of courage to do what they did.

My father, may he rest in peace, told me that the only word not to call him was "chickenshit." That was like coward cubed with less-than-manly overtones thrown in. My wife doesn't want me to cuss in my column, but we'll go with chickenshit until I can come up with something scummier. (Since she doesn't read my column, just don't tell her and everything will be cool.)

· In some people's minds, the Weekly apparently must share some of the blame for the attacks. I've received a lot of mail since the attacks, some of it even positive in nature. But one guy wrote this incredibly hateful thing in which he claimed that I and the Weekly are partly to blame for the atmosphere that fosters terrorism. This guy even said that we are directly to blame for the arson fire that destroyed the McDonald's on Campbell.

(I sent him a recent picture of myself with a caption reading, "Do you think that I would ever have anything to do with the destruction of any fast food place anywhere?")

· The Internet is worse than useless. More crap flows through that thing in one second than through all of Tucson's sewers the week after the Chili Cook-off. You've all seen that fake picture of a guy standing on the tower with a plane in the background. And then there is the Nostradamus stuff.

Get this straight: NOSTRADAMUS WAS (IS) A FRAUD! He wrote in sweeping generalities and is misquoted more often that the lyrics to "Louie, Louie." His stuff reads like bad astrology (not that there's good astrology). It's like "A family member will make you angry." Gee, what are the odds against that?

People claim that he wrote that "twins would fall." How do we know he wasn't talking about Mary-Kate and Ashley after Full House got canceled? It's all nonsense!

· I want to watch. Apparently, I grew up with my kids. Part of me is in the MTV generation. While I love to read, I also like to see stuff on TV. I won't be satisfied reading about how we caught that punk; I want to watch. I want the first guy into the cave to have a helmet-cam on. I want to see the goats scurry for cover and Osama bin Laden disengage himself from whichever little boy or small animal he happens to be abusing at the time. I want to see him get ready to be a martyr and then get real disappointed when they slap some handcuffs on him and drag his punk ass out into the light of day. I know I should know better, but it just won't be as much fun reading about it.

· Religion is a powerful tool for bad as well as good. A few years ago Time magazine did a big article on Islam. In it they mentioned that the Quran promises that a martyr will have sex 72 times a day in Heaven. And that's good? Richard Pryor said that he was capable of about three good minutes of sex, after which he needed eight hours of sleep and a bowl of Wheaties.

Several letter writers took exception to the Time article, claiming that the passage had been taken out of context. But then, just last week on 60 Minutes, I saw a Palestinian mullah telling would-be suicide bombers that if they died as martyrs, they would have access to 72 virgins each day in Heaven.

Virginity is cool, but how is 72 a reward? It takes all my wit, guile, passion, determination, stamina, humor, intelligence and tap-dancing ability just to deal with one woman. But they get 72? Are you sure that's Heaven?

I asked a Muslim friend of mine about it. He's a very serious scholar and he admits the passage is often used in the wrong way. Unfortunately, people can look in a holy book and find all kinds of stuff to misuse for their own purposes. It's like how the Mormons read "mark of the Devil" and took it to mean dark skin. That didn't officially go away until 1978.

· Bryant Gumbel is an idiot. Even though it may take as much as a year to clear away the debris from the terrorist attack, people are already debating what should be done with the World Trade Center. A majority of Americans would like to see the towers rebuilt exactly the way they were as kind of an Up Yours to the terrorists. While the buildings were officially owned by the New York Port Authority, some guy held a 99-year, $2.3 billion lease on them. He would like to build four 50-story buildings to make them less vulnerable to attack. Some people want to leave the space empty as a memorial (yeah, that's really going to happen!).

Those ideas have at least some merit. Then there's Bryant Gumbel's idea. He wants the U.S. to build the World Trade Center towers back up again exactly as they were and then leave them empty as a memorial.

I don't see how they can do anything but rebuild them exactly as they were and use them. Otherwise, we will have had our landscape destroyed by chickenshits and then have it permanently altered in the future out of fear that there are other chickenshits out there. Whatever we decide to do, let's not allow fear to be part of the equation.

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