"[This book] embodies the Buddhist wisdom about change, life, and the
world more than anything written after the events of that day."
Robert Stone

September 2010 Archives

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September 25, 2010


The silver lining in the comments to the U.N. General Assembly by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? In which he said that most people the world over believe that “some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the [9/11] attacks”? Well, on the plus side at the very least, President Obama’s angry response was carried on Persian TV, unedited, and viewable by several million Iranian citizens:

“It was offensive. It was hateful. And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of ground zero, where families lost their loved ones — people of all faiths, all ethnicities, who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation — for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable.

“And it stands in contrast with the response of the Iranian people when 9/11 happened, when there were candlelight vigils and I think a natural sense of shared humanity and sympathy was expressed within Iran. And it just shows, once again, the difference between how the Iranian leadership and this regime operates and how I think the vast majority of Iranian people, who are respectful and thoughtful, think about these issues.”

September 18, 2010


Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar.

Monday is September 20, the anniversary of the birth of my late sister, Janet Berman--a day, for me, when meditation and contemplation are always in order. It also happens to be the unofficial "Pray for Christopher Hitchens Day," when friends and even foes of the author and Vanity Fair columnist, have agreed to pray for our colleague, en masse. (He is in the midst of a courageous standoff with cancer of the esophagus, which he has written about for the magazine.)

There is much to pray for, much to face, much to reevaluate this solemn, windswept, precious weekend.

September 12, 2010

9/11 BOOKS...AND 9/11 APPS?!

Alas, Watching the World Change did not make September 10’s Huffington Post’s “Flashlight Worthy” column, which offered a list of the 9 Best Books about 9/11. I agree with all of the choices made by reviewers Peter Steinberg and Eric Mueller (especially Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower and Maira Kalman’s classic children’s book, Fireboat, which my wife published, at Putnam’s).

But would it have hurt them to list the 10 best books? If so, in addition to mine, I would have added two other choices for serious consideration:

--Here is New York (Scalo), the definitive photographic collection

--Portraits 9/11/01: The Collected "Portraits of Grief" from The New York Times (Times Books)


MISCELLANY.... A 9/11 App?! Check out this New York Times piece about a Lower Manhattan walking tour that offers audio testimonies.

September 10, 2010


PODCAST: Click HERE for a podcast of a recent talk I gave at the Chautauqua Institution about image, the attacks of 9/11, and visual documentation in the digital age.

SLIDESHOW: VanityFair.com has posted a slideshow and an excerpt from Watching the World Change.

September 5, 2010

9 Years

On this ninth-anniversary week of the 9/11 attacks, I was moved by this observation from Nikki Stern on her blog 1 Woman's Vu. Stern's husband James Potorti perished on September 11, 2001.

Stern is also the author of the new book Because I Say So: The Dangerous Appeal of Moral Authority.

Also, I highly recommend David Dunlap’s New York Times piece this weekend on the rapid and long-overdue rise of the World Trade Center Complex, along with the interactive display on the website of the Times.

Finally, please have a gander at Nicholas Kristof’s Times op-ed piece on the Ground Zero mosque controversy, “America’s History of Fear.”