Mark 13:1-2 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said unto him: Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings! And Jesus answering said unto him: see these great buildings? There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
Michael Savage is an interesting fellow. Like Saul knocked from his horse on the road to Damascus and given the name Paul, wayward Michael Weiner, the radio personality heard on 350 stations, underwent a parallel, psychic, transformation, even adopting the name Savage, to disguise a prior life spent as author, academic and herbalist. Currently a cross between Joseph Goebbels and the Jewish prophet, Jeremiah, Mike savages the airwaves with invective, accusation and embittered rhetoric. Yet a little dose of Mike, like a garnish of garlic or a spoonful of vinegar, may actually be good for the blood, while too much surely burns a hole in one's spiritual digestive tract.
The other day Mike accused Hollywood of an "anti-Christian" bias. "Why hasn't liberal Hollywood made a movie about 9/11?" he rasped. His explanation--like all of Mike's explanations since he abandoned science--flew like the devil taking Jesus to the top of Herod's temple and left the listener horrified at the precariousness of the perch and awed by the scenery below. Indeed, you wondered, Why hadn't Hollywood made a movie about that horrific day in September?
Having been a Hollywood scriptwriter for several years, penning cinematic masterpieces that never saw the light of day, I wondered about the many reasons why moviegoers haven't yet seen the twin towers fall in a Technicolor tribute to the excesses of Jerry Bruckheimer. Could it be for money reasons? Not hardly. Money, the root of all evil and the route of all Hollywood projects, could be raised even if "A Towering Vision of Heroism-The Movie" exceeded a half billion dollars to make. Could it be for humane reasons? Not very likely. The over-riding feeling of awe and anguish, together with the overt stirrings of patriotism a movie like ATVH evoked would probably overwhelm any issues of personal delicacy if done with the least bit of sensitivity. Even Hollywood sometimes manages that. Could it be because of possible lawsuits? Very likely. You see, Hollywood would have few qualms of toppling the Trade Towers again were it not for fear of legal action. Even that old fox, Rupert Murdoch, as mercenary as the most grasping Pharisee, would leap from the highest precipice to sell his soul (if he still has one) for the chance to make ATVH, but a flurry of likely lawsuits may have dampened his avarice this time. When Hollywood finally makes the movie'only a matter of time'how much will the American viewer be permitted to see? Will we see Minnesota FBI agent, Coleen Rowley, a more efficient version of fictional agent Scully, inform her superiors in Washington of suspicious flight school students? Will Rowley's remarks, "Minnesota agents became so frustrated by roadblocks erected by terrorism supervisors in Washington that they began to joke that FBI headquarters was becoming an unwitting accomplice to Osama bin Laden's efforts to attack the United States." Not hardly. Will we see our president informed by the CIA of the likelihood of attacks from the sky, one month before it happened? Will we see boy George fleeing off to Nebraska on Air Force One hours after the attack? Not very likely. Will we see swarthy skyjackers planning the horrific crime? Very likely. If Tom Clancy pens the novel--after all Clancy has already written TWO books about pilots crashing fuel-laden planes into government buildings and killing the president--and Michael Bay directs this Bruckheimer "blockbuster," it can't fail. Of course, the 19 hijackers in this movie will be as two-dimensional as those cardboard villains in Clancy's, "True Lies," a movie also glorifying the destructive power of smashing planes into tall buildings.
Why do suicide bombers kill? What makes a political martyr? What pushes a man to kill himself and masses of people he never knew? How many Americans really believe that suicide bombers are "cowards?" Does anyone get a sense that we really don't know our enemy and our enemy doesn't really know us? Michael Savage knows the enemy'they're all around him and they have no consciences--but how true is this stereotypical, Hollywood version of the enemy? I would like to have met that Palestinian woman'Hanadi Jaradat, 29, an attractive, Palestinian lawyer in training and, yes, a mass murderer'and picked her brain before she embarked on her bloody mission. She blew herself up and killed 19 others at a restaurant; her anger and determination must have hardened her heart. That and the fact Hanadi's two relatives were already killed by the IDF. Really, an outraged sense of justice trammeled pushes people over the edge more often than patriotism or dogma.
Which brings us to Washington DC. Take a look at the beautiful city from atop the Washington Memorial. I love DC. Have you been to this splendid city? Gaze at the symbols of our nation'awesome testimonials to great men and greater ideas--and yet consider how those ideals have become grossly distorted in the last 50 years. The Vietnam War Memorial, for example, spans 500 feet and contains nearly 58,000 names of American soldiers. Now imagine a memorial to those our ideology rather than our ideals killed. Between two and four million Vietnamese were blown up in the years 1945-1975. If such a wall were constructed it would stretch more than five miles, with names etched in the black granite from top to bottom. Add the names of tens of thousands of Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans and Colombians killed by our proxy armies trained and directed from Washington DC through the "School of The Assassins" and you begin the appreciate the karmic weight overhanging the city--like a gathering storm in the image of an angry God--and you realize exactly what Thomas Jefferson meant when he said: "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."
From ancient Babylon to fascist Berlin, a city evolves sometimes into an unrecognizably sinister maze, inhabited by a thousand shadowy minotaurs. Youths are selected and sent to faraway lands to be devoured and few citizens, least of all those with power, demand to know why. Michael Savage and the men ensconced behind the Doric columns of Washington DC claim to know personally this enigmatic liberal/conservative fellow by the name of Jesus, yet "Savage Nation", not Christian conciliation, is as much their modus operandi as their motto. A city sometimes endangers itself by the very policy it foists on its neighbors. Those who fear airport shoe bombers should perhaps consider how easy it would be for a cargo ship to steam into port one day. Later that evening the crew evaporates, motoring away in a small boat.
Not long after the attack on 9/11, scriptwriters were asked to suggest worst case scenarios regarding possible future attacks. Forget Tom Clancy; forget for a moment things dropping from the sky. Imagine instead a trio of cargo ships, each scheduled to arrive the same day in New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles. New York, the capitol of global commerce; Washington, the seat of world power; Los Angeles, the fount of infotainment, a mixture of propaganda and diversion (as Pascal wrote: "diversion amuses us, and leads us unconsciously to death."). Hidden deep inside the holds or buried deep within a stack of shipping containers are black market nuclear devices, just three among thousands manufactured worldwide in the last 50 years. Each is small by modern standards, antiquated even. The ships anchor; the crews disappear.
E.B White described the terror succinctly and prophetically in 1949, in a slim volume called "Here Is New York. "The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sound of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition. All dwellers in cities must live with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself, and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority."
Perhaps the repercussions of resentment and nuclear proliferation will never bear such grim fruit, and perhaps statesmen in Washington DC and the world, men and women with vision rather than personal vendettas or venal ambitions will prevail. We can only hope to God it occurs; the alternative is unbearably grim.