Monday, September 11, 2006
My Nightly Middle Finger to MTV
It felt like the world was ending.
It felt like the world was coming alive for the first time.
During the four and a half months I spent living in a New York hotel room, covering 9/11, every human emotion was amplified. At any given moment, there were a million ways to feel -- a million reactions to a situation which was so overwhelming that any attempt to put it into words fell heartbreakingly short.
You just accepted it.
The pain. The loss. The hope. The fear. The emptiness. The rage. The joy. The vulnerability. The sympathy and empathy. The pride. The belief in the human spirit. The humanity.
It made you understand that it was these feelings that made life so painfully tragic and so breathtakingly precious.
After close to five months, I believed that I was exhausted. I was certain that the constant barrage of emotional stimuli had worn me down. I thought I was out of tears.
Then on February 3rd, 2002, U2 stepped onstage at the Superbowl halftime show and somehow managed to capture every contradictory emotion -- all that suffering and all that resilience -- and blast it through an amp.
I watched the lights dim; watched the names of the victims of the attacks begin scrolling up the massive backdrop -- climbing seemingly to heaven itself; I listened to the solemn and beautiful MLK lead into the first notes of one of the most uplifting songs ever recorded, Where the Streets Have No Name.
And I cried like a baby.
Every single moment of this performance and the audience's reaction to it is beyond description.