Box Scores 

Counting the dead in living color

Wednesday, Sep 26 2001

“I don‘t watch TV.”

“What, you don’t have a TV set?”

He insisted that I get one, because how could I keep up with the events otherwise, and what did my opinions matter if I did not see it all.

Related Stories

  • We Wish We All Could Be Caprice's Kind of California Girl

    “This is myself with my best friend at the time, frying my skin," says the across-the-pond celebrity Caprice Bourret while looking at old photos, nibbling a scone at high tea at the Culver Hotel. "I used to be such a California girl. I used to fry. Hawaiian Tropic, no sunscreen at all."...
  • Surprise! Americans Drink More Wine Than the French

    Congratulations America! We're officially bigger winos than the French. According to the Organization of Vine and Wine, the U.S. became the biggest internal market in the world, volume-wise, as of 2013. We won this coveted title by consuming 29.1 million hectoliters (mhl) of wine - not including vermouth or special wines,...
  • Where to Eat, Drink and Watch the World Cup

    Today begins the World Cup, the biggest sporting event in the world. Even if you secretly prefer to watch American football, this is the time of year to pretend that you don't. And face it: The football that the rest of the world obsesses over is a thousand times more...
  • Milkfarm

    If your idea of the four food groups is cheese, charcuterie, bread and wine, Milkfarm in Eagle Rock is set to become your new grocery shopping central.  Leah Park Fierro, formerly head cheesemonger/manager of the Cheese Store in Silver Lake, opened the cheese-and-charcuterie haven April 7, inspired by the little specialty shops...
  • S.Pellegrino's 50 Best Restaurants in the World Announced

    At a schmoozy, boozy event in London, S.Pellegrino announced their list of the 50 Best Restaurants in the world today. Seven U.S. restaurants made the cut. Two are from California. None are from Los Angles. This is the 12th year S. Pellegrino and Restaurant magazine have been putting out the list. This...

“Listen, I read the dailies,” I told him.

“But you need to see it as it unfolds.”

When the towers were collapsing, my colleagues (fellows of the New York Public Library) and I went out onto Fifth Avenue to watch. All we saw was a huge majestic cloud gaining in size and power at the end of the canyon of tall buildings. After a couple of minutes, someone said, “Let‘s find a TV set.”

I tried to be a witness -- I went to Houston Street, where the smoke and dust made me cough, and could not go beyond the police line. But I had seen enough images. I had heard from friends caught in the fire and brimstone, and I talked to people who had run down the stairs of the towers, who’d seen falling bodies and heads chopped off by falling glass. They retold the horrors in the kind of language I got used to during the siege of Vukovar and Sarajevo. I don‘t need to see it in gory detail. In fact, I don’t want to.

Rather than harboring image-driven emotions, I need to think. The country is united in producing emotions. Flags are everywhere. Even The New York Times printed a flag with instructions on how to paste it to your window. Is this the same newspaper that published articles against Croatia‘s flag, and labeled it nationalistic? Is the United States the only country that is patriotic, while the rest of the world is nationalistic? It’s all right for us to sing hymns and wave flags even in local sports events -- a practice other nations reserve for international events. America needs to think, too.

Eleven days after the attacks, I smell the dusty odor of burning rubber, plastic, metal, asbestos and human flesh. Parents walk with their toddlers in strollers, facemasks covering their little noses. At night people burn candles that from a distance look like dynamite sticks, and further damage the air.

It feels as though our island will keep smoking and smelling of incinerated bodies forever. Maybe I should get a TV. Rather than smelling the collapse, it would be nice to listen to the Brokaw bass and to see our frat president reading his cards. The brainwashing box might put me in line with more than two-thirds of Americans who are supporting the new war, according to NBC, or whoever the poll -- pall? -- bearer is. It‘s tempting in a way. But I think I’ll spend more time in the library, lost in the stacks, and in the written images of old wars and civilizations -- not hiding from the present conflicts but nevertheless salved by the distance and perspective of time.

Josip Novakovich is the author of Salvation and Other Disasters: Short Stories.

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Sexual Predator Is Targeting Females in Eastside Park

    A sexual predator is on the loose in an Eastside park, police warned today. Cops say the creep has targeted "lone females" walking in Ernest E. Debs Regional Park three times between January and July. He has groped, exposed himself and even attacked with a knife, the Los Angeles Police...
  • U.S. Reps Call For Federal Intervention in Dodger TV Blackout

    A group of local U.S. representatives wants the Federal Communications Commission to help end Time Warner Cable's blackout of Dodger games for competing cable and satellite providers. Negotiations to bring the team's games to AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network, Mediacom, Suddenlink Communications and Verizon FIOS have gotten...
  • Foster the People's Downtown L.A. Mural Is Coming Down

    The controversial Foster the People mural downtown is coming down, the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today. Despite claims by the pop band that it had necessary permits and that the artwork was legitimately produced, the mayor's office states what we reported previously: The piece is on a...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Street League Skateboarding Super Crown World Championship
    On Sunday, Street League Skateboarding touched down in the Galen Center at USC as part of a four-stop tour for SLS's Super Crown World Championship. The L.A. stop determined the roster for Super Crown, airing August 24th on FOX Sports 1. The final eight are Nyjah Huston, Luan Oliveira, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neill, Paul Rodriguez, Chaz Ortiz, Matt Berger and Ishod Wair. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Comic-Con's "Celebrity" Autograph Area
    A sometimes overlooked (but still incredibly unique) aspect of San Diego Comic-Con are the celebs available to sign autographs, as well as the autograph seekers themselves. If you've ever wanted to meet the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld or the guy who played Michelangelo in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chances are, as you wander the Autograph Area, you'll be able to connect with someone you didn't even realize you were waiting your whole life to meet! All photos by Rob Inderrieden.
  • Real Madrid Soccer Practice at UCLA
    Fans came out to greet world champion soccer team Real Madrid as they practice at UCLA. This is the first time that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has practiced with the team this year. All photos by Jeff Cowan.