Photo: Joseph Rodriguez.
In NY Mag, a 9/11 Encyclopedia, as we approach the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
The alphabetized jumble of an encyclopedia, with its preposterous aspiration to describe whole cultures and continents and bodies of knowledge in a single place—that, we thought, might be an interesting way to take in the multiplicity of 9/11's effects. So we asked our own writers, and a host of distinguished others, to explore a range of subjects that might in their aggregate add up to a kind of idiosyncratic assessment. Some of the resulting 92 entries we kept in the vernacular of a reference book; some we allowed to deviate to accommodate remembrances and other emotional responses. We sought imagery that either felt fresh to us or hauntingly familiar—we were looking throughout to balance sentiment with distance. Borrowing from the old musty volumes on hand, we ran illustrations and data and artifacts up the margins.
In spite of its form, our encyclopedia makes no claim to be comprehensive. It's neither a first draft of history nor a verdict—just a set of impressions from some point in between. September 11, 2001, changed everything, or it did not; it will take a lot more than ten years to figure that out.
(thanks, Bassam Tariq)