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< Piro >

that other site...

"painting with blood"

Wednesday - September 12, 2001

[Piro] - 13:14:00 - [link here]

red cross disaster relief fund

donate blood. (we'll need blood for weeks to come, not just today and tommorow) or in canada1-888-2-DONATE

(212) 560-2730 for information on recovered or still missing people in NY


As i sit here writing this, i have a horrid headache. I've had so many false starts on this 'rant' that i wonder if I will ever finish it. Emotions have ranged from shock, to sadness, to rage, to hopelessness, to a bizarre kind of grim determination. I've had several days to sort out my feelings on these attacks, and i have felt the urgent need to pull away from this loss for words and find a way to say the right things, whatever they are.

I won't go into details about my own experiences with the past few days. We all have our own stories of how we have dealt with this - some better than others. For me, as an American, a New York native, an Architect, a Citizen of the World, and lastly as an Artist (yes, i will use the word here), the events of September 11th have impacted me on many fronts.

As an American, i'm not going to get into a lot of flag waving and patriotic speeches - there are people far better at it than me. I am very proud to see that happening around this nation. People have feared that the US would retaliate violently, but I have faith that our country will respond with specificity and appropriate actions. The logic of peace and the logic of war are not the same. I fear having to learn more about the differences.

Even though I have not lived in New York for many years, the majority of my extended family lives and works in and around the New York/Long Island area. For two days I worried extensively about friends and family who work in the Financial District, and as of this morning we finally have word that all are safe and accounted for. I am well aware of the fact that not everyone with friends and family in that area will receive the same news. As a New York native, i am at the same time horrified by the damage to our city, and proud to see New Yorkers pull together once again in time of tragedy.

As an architect, there is something deeply unsettling about the collapse of two of the world's tallest buildings. All buildings are far more than a complex assembly of steel, concrete, glass and systems - buildings have lives - they live and breathe. Large structures have immense symbolic presence in cities - they are beacon points used by people to navigate the city streets, they define the skyline, they house the lives and work of countless thousands of people. It wasn't just thousands of people we watched die on Tuesday - we saw the death of two buildings. As an architect, i not only had a previous understanding of the structural systems of the World Trade Center, but also an understanding of the sheer physics involved in a catastrophic failure of this magnitude. The buildings themselves, in the end, are unsung heros. They did not buckle and fall upon impact. Fireproofing on steel can only last so long before a intense fire will burn thru it. Once steel is heated to high temperatures, it weakens. Columns buckle, floors fall, dead loads become live loads with deadly complex inertia. The forces released by this chain of collapse are beyond comprehension. Because of the way buildings are designed, this did not happen immediately - These buildings stood long enough for many people to escape with their lives. I think it's important that people understand this.

As a citizen of the world... i don't know what to say. Today's comic came probably says all i want to say about this. But it only talks about one side. We are all mourning the fact that this act, and others like it that happen around the world all the time (no lesser in tragedy, if lesser in scope), happen at all, never mind with the frequency and the ferocity that they do. You would like to think that ANYONE with a functioning conscience would not be able to do acts like this. My first reaction is to loose faith in human conscience.

But maybe that's not really where it ends. It's more of a challenge to the rest of us and our own consciences. Like any disaster, we have seen people operate purely on what they feel is the right thing to do. All i need to do is think of all the public service people, police, fire fighters, and many others, who went *to* the crisis after it transpired, threw their own lives into danger to help others. It is horrible that not only did we see the failure of conscience on the part of those who perpetrated the crime, but in the loss of so many whose consciences functioned so well, that they paid the ultimate price in following them.

Finally, as an artist - and i only apply this term to myself loosely, and only then because i find no other way to express what i am about to say next - i find my feelings not only clear, but a grim resolve that in this area there must be a response. Here, I am defining an 'artist' as anyone who reaches out to touch other people's souls in one form or another. This can be thru art, painting, drawing, comics, writing, poetry, film making, video, photography, graphic design... any creative endeavor that revolves around the art of evoking an emotive response from an audience. As a manga/comic artist I try to evoke emotions of all sorts with what i do. Writers use words to paint images and events that make us laugh or cry, photographers try to capture image that move us in one way or another, film makers create immersive montages that carry us away and touch us in a variety of ways.

On tuesday, our own medium was stolen from us, and used as a direct assault on the people we serve.

The attacks on the WTC building were masterfully designed to produce the most shocking video footage possible. The first plane flew down the length of Manhattan at a low altitude, in such a way that it would draw attention to itself, so that eyes would be on it as it plowed into the first tower. Because of this, we DO have footage of the first impact. But that was just gravy for the perpetrators. The first impact was intended to draw the media eye squarely on the exact point where a second plane was brutally flown into the second tower shortly thereafter. We are used to seeing the aftermaths of disasters. Watching one actually happen has unbelievable impact. This was planned so that there would be no question that we would see it.

The intended targets of these attacks were not so much the people in those buildings - it was everyone of us who has seen the images of that second plane plowing into the world trade center's south tower. The horrible brutality of the timing and the staging of this chills my heart to the core.

These people were painting with blood.

Their work is available on all the major news websites. The result of their efforts has left for us a series of video clips, photographs, sounds and images, that record their execution of this horrible act. It is intended to shock. It is intended to strike fear and loathing in the heart. The third and fourth works are almost extras - horrifying video of immense structures collapsing on themselves. My heart stopped the first time i saw the collapses. Most of us do not live in or near New York. Most of us will never see the devastation in real life. it doesn't matter. We experienced it. We all did. The jets bled fire, fuel and shed velocity, the buildings bled concrete dust, broken glass and twisted steel into the city below. Like a Hitchcock film where horrible atrocities are only hinted at, leaving the worst to your own imagination, we don't even have to see the horrible painting in real blood underneath it all. We know it's there. It's in our mind's eyes.

It is a horrible work. I am sickened by it.

We must take the hearts, minds and souls of our people back. We must not allow such images painted with blood stand in their potency. We cannot let it have a greater impact on the world than the rest of us do. I have never felt more challenged before in my life. We are all artists in one form or another. We musn't let this work stand. We must touch people's souls to better things.

Life goes on - things change, but life does go on. But we have to work hard to build, collectively, things that will lessen the effect of this horrible work. Everyone in the online comic community, as well as the rest of us who are involved with entertaining and enlightening people every day have much to do, but i think that in the end we will prove far more capable of producing a body of work that makes the footage from tuesday a piece of history, not a everyday factor in our lives.


Deep stuff. I'm sorry, i do that sometimes.

It felt good to get that off my chest. For those of you who stuck with this rant and read it thru to the end, thank you. We've all been dealing with this stuff in our own ways. I originally had many other plans for this week, there is a lot of pretty interesting stuff going on - tuesday's tragedy interrupted everything, but it does not stop them. So, on a lighter note, I will mention something i was planning on mentioning today - mainly because, i am not going to let a group of terrorists interrupt my life and our comic anymore. Besides, if you live in the Los Angeles area, you might enjoy this.

This Saturday, the new OmochaBox retail store will be having it's grand opening in Los Angeles. This store is basically the equivalent to a 'Gamers' store opening in the US. :) If you are in the area, head down and check it out. They are gonna have Kunihiko Ikuhara (director of "Utena") and Mari Iijima on hand to sign autographs and stuff. Visit the store's site for more info. [quick note - OmochaBox has postponed thier grand opening stuff in light of recent events, but they are still going to open up on the 15th. So, if you are in the area, it's probably still worth visiting the new store. :) - piro]

After a hard week like this, i think we could all use something to brighten the spirits a little. I think i'll run down to Wizzywigs myself after work.

Take care, folks, and thanks for sticking with us thru this difficult week. Megatokyo will be back in full gear next tuesday with a brand new comic, brand spankin new back end for the website, and even some new graphic goodies to freshen up the look of the site as well. And no one, except our own inneptitude, perhaps, is gonna stop it. ^_^

< Largo >

you're already here.

"demanding fear"

Wednesday - September 12, 2001

[Largo] - 07:30:00 - [link here]

For many us in America, the last seventy-two hours have felt like a lifetime.

There isn't a soul in the civilized world that isn't aware of the tragedy that has hit the United States, or of the wrath that is about to be unleashed on those responsible.

I had woke up Tuesday morning expecting to get dressed, drink my coffee, and go to work, It was by chance that I turned on the TV and was greeted to the images of the Towers, one of which was on fire. I was shocked, I heard the reporters say this must have been an accident, and then, suddenly - as the live video of the towers was broadcasting, a second plane appeared, and crashed before my very eyes, and both I and the reporters on the news, were silent. Media personalities are trained to never allow 'dead silence' while on the air, it's unprofessional for them to stop talking, no matter what happens. Yet, at this moment - even these resolute people, we're without words.

I had the pleasure of visiting New York City a few months prior, I walked around and got to see the World Trade Center first hand. I suppose I am now one of the lucky few to have seen it with my own eyes, it was beautiful, the pictures you see of it on television do not do it justice. I stood on the sidewalk and looked up, and could not see the top of the towers as they went seemingly forever into the sky. Now, they are gone, and in their place is six stories of devastation.

To give an idea of the stature of the Towers, they were built with 1.5 billion pounds of concrete. Now that material is being used to make the world's largest American tomb.

"I fear that we have woken a sleeping giant - one with a very great resolve." - Admiral Yamamoto

The above quote was made famous by one of the architect's of the attack on Pearl Harbor. History has since proven him correct. My generation is now faced with its very own 'Pearl Harbor'.

The reason I refer to Pearl Harbor in that our sense of security has been taken from us, and it has been replaced with outrage over our lost friends and loved ones, outrage over our lost spirit.

One of my friends sent me his opinion, which for him was summed up nicely by one of the editors of Mr. Cranky."America, to put it bluntly, is a basically a collective badass. The kind of country that, even when some ass-weasel sneaks up and clobbers her from behind with a lead pipe, stands back up. Spits out a bloody tooth. Rolls up her sleeves and shows everybody what she's made of."

This nation is one of the most compassionate and forgiving entities on the earth, yet we have our limits. I have been told that we should pity these poor people, to feel sorry for them. I watch as some people try to tell us that these men were victims themselves. I see the old guilt trips already rolling in, "I was abused as a child, beaten by my father, raised in poverty, the devil made me do it." -- Maybe it's true, but I don't buy it. I'm not interested in their background.

Although, in Osama Bin Laden's case, the man has more money then the late co-founder of Akamai who is no longer among the living, since along with so many others were passengers on the planes used to destroy the World Trade Center.

As Americans, we have only response that is available to us, which is the outright eradication of all terrorist threats made against the people of the United States, and to those who would help anyone that make such threats to us. I'm happy to see that the rest of the free world is in favor of this position.

Not to be graphic, but from the images of people on fire, jumping out the towers to grant themselves an early death, to the cleanup aftermath - watching as rescue workers go thru the wreckage with sifting buckets to locate partial human remains, I've become only more agitated.

However, as a civilized person I can not let my anger dominate my actions, we can not afford to lash out wrecklessly on the innocent. To do this would go against everything we stand for, but we will see vindication, we will with the rest of the free world, bring those responsible to justice in time.

Terrorism - by current definition is "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."

That dry statement sums up the method by which the attack on our nation was carried out. However, it's lacking - the very word 'Terrorism' - is derived from 'Terror', to strike fear in those you seek to dominate. It is used to make someone stop and take notice of your agenda.

It is in that sense that I feel those responsible for this unforgivable act, have both suceeded and failed. While we have had to stop and take notice, this event has only strengthened our resolve to protect those who love freedom.

I offer only this thought to those who support terrorism, expecting to get our attention, "Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it."

The world is now changed, the reality in which we live our lives is changed, I am changed.


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