A Word for Tomorrow

Andy, I’ve thought a little about your question: What can we call this thing on Sunday besides an “anniversary”? I, too, balk at referring to the “tenth anniversary” of 9/11. More broadly, everything about yellow-ribbon America (to use a shorthand) nauseates me. A friend of mine condemned today what she called a “wallow-thon.”

But back to the question of “anniversary”: My only answer is that this is a neutral word — “the annual recurrence of a date marking a notable event.” Such an event can be good or evil. I think the reason that “anniversary” is a cozy, friendly word to us is that we associate it with our wedding days. (No snarky remarks about marriage from the peanut gallery, or anywhere else, please.)

Sorry I can’t do better. Strange, given that English is such a big, generous language, bursting with words and alternatives. One could say “observation,” “marking,” “commemoration,” and the like, but “anniversary” seems the most natural, the fittest.

P.S. “Propaganda” was a neutral term, once upon a time. Governments and organizations used it freely, to refer to that which they propagated. There was nothing sinister about it. Over time, however, the word took on a negative connotation. Funny how that happens.

P.P.S. While I’m hogging the floor, let me commend the latest column by Janet Daley, in the Daily Telegraph — a stunner. She talks about how 9/11 awakened her consciousness as an American. And she remembers the torrent of anti-Americanism that followed the attacks — in Britain, one of the America-friendliest of countries.

P.P.P.S. My own thoughts about 9/11 were encapsulated in a speech I gave on September 11, 2002, at a conference in Salonika, Greece. Go here

Most Popular

Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More