Remember the end-of-irony declaration following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks? In 2004, Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter was forced to eat his words and acknowledge, "Americans are by and large obsessed with crummy reality TV, and the lives of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton." (Never mind that his own publication arguably fuels that obsession.)
Nobody expects Americans to drop everything and just be sad every year on Sept. 11. It remains a little jarring, though, to see just how normal life is going to be tomorrow.
The new normal? Rap rivals 50 Cent and Kanye West both drop their new albums, for instance. This may not have much resonance in the halls of Congress, but just pull aside an intern and ask. The "Fiddy" and Kanye releases are a big deal indeed.
On TV, CBS will not be airing its heartbreaking and excellent documentary, "9-11: Camera At Ground Zero," for the first time since Sept. 11, 2002. Instead, viewers will be treated to a couple of reality shows and something called "NCIS." None of the four broadcasters, in fact, will be acknowledging the anniversary in prime time. PBS alone will be airing nods to 9/11, with a repeat of "Nova" that focuses on the rebuilding effort at Ground Zero and a "Wide Angle" that profiles an Afghan women's rights activist and politician.
Here in D.C., the building that houses The Gate and the rest of Atlantic Media is hosting an ice cream sundae social, where we can choose between "premium toppings including bananas, brownies, and much more!" Later in the evening, Beltway residents can enjoy the song styling of pop singer/actress Mandy Moore, who's performing at the Birchmere. If memories of 9/11 drive you to drink, you're in luck: EatBar and Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse are hosting beer tastings.
(Mandy Moore performing Umbrella)
Tomorrow will start out with somber commemorations at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., of course. Traditionally, local stations in New York and Washington air them live. Expect cable to go to the Hill, though: Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are in for a grilling by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Do you think that there should be more coverage on 9/11?