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Finally

People who say "no one could have imagined" are telling us to deny our most familiar fantasies. They are embarrassingly inexpedient now as we prepare for war. Erasing the American imagination that hungers for such an event. We are in the presence of any number of writers of novels and screenplays who flush out our living nightmares. Martin Amis? Perhaps. DeLillo, Pynchon, Ballard, Gaddis... Though I know I was not the only boy to obsessively draw horrific scenes of death and disaster...the airliner crashing into the building, a favorite...they still insist on calling it "unimaginable." A sixth grade fad in an upper-middle class high school, circa 1976: tearing the wings off of numerous flies and making cardboard McDonald's for them to occupy. Degrees of revulsion were varied. Now my peers have become newscasters, casually toying with us with their hypnotic ritual formulae. There are some who believe this, and just as many who pretend they are unsettled. There is only shock in knowing it has happened and that there is no longer anything to imagine. There were details, the twin towers buckling here and there, falling just so. I find no problem fathoming McVeigh. He is entirely recognizable. I imagine all the people I've known, the fanatical, the libertarian constitutionalist, the ex-military man, myself. Wala! I imagine the terrorists as a combination of the anti-American, the tribal, the true believers. And I see. Get on the plane. Tie up the hostages. The fake bombs — a brilliant stroke! What I have a hard time imagining is someone who can't perform this feat of imagination, who believes the elements of such events do not circulate around him daily. The standard true crime story always begins with an idyllic setting about to be undone by murder. Addictions, poverty, psychosis, incest, all sorts of exploitation, any number of horrors disappear. In this way, the writer rationalizes what they are about to unleash on the reader for no other reason than there was a space for a few more gruesome details in someone's head. The only thing fresh and clean is the reader's mind, not yet intruded upon by these particular images of death and torment. They know the shape of murder, but they need evermore information on the fine hues and the ever unfolding texture of its crevices. How can Martin Amis say no one in Hollywood could have conceived of this? They've blown up everything. No, it is only because a movie of 200 minutes can't convey the multiplicity of individual suffering, the repercussions, the ongoing damaged lives, because they can't take the time to coach each doomed extra to strike just the right look of horror. They couldn't simulate this. But it doesn't mean they could imagine simulating this. We try to bridge the gap between those with real trauma and those with second-hand trauma. When is the right time to stop covering and start selling the event? All the crocodile tears of newscasters now have real salt to make them more convincing. The event is now as decorous as America's 18-month election campaign. A few weeks ago, it was so obvious, it was true for so long, that the American right wing has been waiting for an enemy since 1989. Saddam could be no more than a stopgap. I am no fan of Orwell, but now we have somehow agreed to watch the National Security State construct an enemy, picking and choosing from elements from within the Arab world. Intelligence officers know. It is to say no childhood imagination has forced itself inside the Mitsubishi cockpit of the kamikaze. Why did I rush home to watch the television coverage? I knew I would be seeing the same images again and again for weeks. I have come to love the breaking coverage Unimaginable? You can't tell me that. America has been eagerly anticipating a catastrophic explosion for a long time. We have been waiting for it, dreaming... Explosions are the only thing America as a nation understands.