The following is the original text of the request I authored and emailed out to two close friends. For those interested, I also offer an untitled piece about September 11th written February 28th, 2002. I appreciate your vote and welcome your views. -JDM
--- begin text ---
The following is a serious request. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT to read it and, if you agree, pass it along to two people. (Why only two? See below.)
There have been a lot of proposals over the year since last September 11th about ways to show solidarity, respect, reverence or just express your feelings about the events of that day. There have been days when we have lighted candles, signed petitions, and done other things to make our feelings and thoughts known. I would like to propose one for this September 11th; it's something a little different (an idea I must honestly credit to a loved one).
ON SEPTEMBER 11th 2002, TURN OFF YOUR TV.
...and decline all other forms of mass media. Pass up the newspaper just this once, leave the radio off, skip over the news websites, avoid the bookstore shelves and magazine racks, avert your eyes from the billboards and ignore the sea of advertising around you.
Why? There are many reasons, only some of which you may agree with, but any one will do, so take your pick.
...perhaps because we need to stop believing, thinking and feeling what is handed to us, and take a moment, perhaps the whole day, to think about what happened on September 11th and why, and determine our own conclusions.
...perhaps because the tragedies that have occured and the memory of the souls that died last year have already been countlessly relived, and some would say outright exploited, by opportunists and advertisers across our nation.
...perhaps because we need to spend some time considering the societies, lifestyles, industries and governments, domestic and foreign, that led up to this disaster, and how we might need to change them so that the people who perished will not have given their lives in vain.
...perhaps because we should spend the day actively reaching out rather than passively absorbing in, such as through talking with others, writing or publishing our views, or attending events that help us connect with each other, better our world, and share our ideas.
...perhaps simply because we need to spend the day appreciating life and loved ones in solemn reverence for what we have, and contemplation of all of those in pain, be they like ourselves or very different.
There are many reasons more, perhaps, to be thought of. As I said, any will do, but I truly believe it is important that we not let this event be taken away from us via forced immersion in the images, thoughts, and agendas of the limited view of the mass media. This tragedy has been very real for each of us; we must take some time to relate to it, and act upon it, each with our own heart and mind.
Please TURN OFF YOUR TV. Make your own statement instead.
IF YOU AGREE, PASS THIS ON TO TWO (2) PEOPLE YOU KNOW WELL.
Why only two? Because this is a model of true democracy. If you pass this on to two people, and at least one agrees and does the same, then your majority vote (at least 2 of 3) has allowed the message to get passed on. If the two to whom you send it do not support the idea, then it does not move on. Unlike the world of the media, where numbers and circulation determine power, this method is closer to a real democracy, where every single person in the chain can make a huge difference, not merely those few with power.
If you receive this more than once, it's probably just from a mutual friend of someone to whom you sent it. To make sure that the vote is not wasted, simply send it to one new person to take your place.
For the people who died, and for the troubled world that led to the devestation of September 11th, 2001, please take a stand. Turn off your TV. Strive to make things better and do something. Anything.
My name is Joseph Mancuso and I authored this request. I will post its original text at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mancuso/sept11.html to insure it remains unaltered. I welcome your views. Thank you for your time and your vote.
Long live true democracy.
--- end text ---