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September 11th: Turn Off Your TV

The following is the original text of the request I authored and emailed out to two close friends on August 16th. For those interested, I also offer a rough untitled essay piece about September 11th written April 28th, 2002. I sincerely appreciate your vote and welcome your views on any or all of this material. -JDM

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The following is a serious request, not an ad or silly chain letter of any kind, AND YOUR VOTE IS CRITICAL. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT to read it and, IF YOU AGREE, PASS IT ALONG to TWO people. (Why only two? See below.)

Last year around this time, the nation and world were heavy in thought and preparation for the anniversary of one of the most significant and provocative disasters in American history. Now, as I revise this, we are just over a month away from another anniversary of this devastating event.

There have been a lot of actions over the years since September 11th 2001 to show solidarity, respect, reverence, or just express our 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).


...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, or contemplate your own.

...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 2001 and why, and determine our own conclusions.

...perhaps because the tragedies that have occured and the memory of the souls that died on that infamous day have already been countlessly relived, and some would say outright exploited, by opportunists and advertisers across our nation.

...perhaps because these memories and lost lives, and the emotions that they inevitably stir, have already been reinterpreted and manipulated to suit the political ends of those who have access to the media, as have other national and international events of recent days.

...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 personally remember it, relate to it, and act upon it, each with our own heart and mind. As the years pass, the memory may dim for many of us, but we must endeavor to preserve its magnitude and potency. We should strive to insure that those who lost their lives will have brought about a better world with their sacrifice: a change as significant as their loss, enacted through the hands of those of us who remember them.

Please TURN OFF YOUR TV. Make your own statement instead. I do not care what your political views or feelings are. I only implore that they are truly your own, and that you make them known on this day.


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.josephmancuso.com/september11/ to insure it remains unaltered. I welcome your views. Thank you for your time and your vote.

Long live true democracy.

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Last modified: 7 August 2004