I’m stuck in a video culture. The immediacy of the message, the ability to project nuance, is quite alluring. Today’s low-cost of creation and dissemination has helped unleash citizen’s voices which otherwise would never be heard.

Yesterday, I featured Keith Olbermann’s Sept. 11th impassioned defense of dissent.

It was a strong, direct, thoughtful yet emotional argument from someone perched on the pinnacle of an old-style media distribution empire (in this case MSNBC).

Today, another thoughtful rumination on Sept. 11th from the incredible ZeFrank, exemplar of the new-style media empire. One guy, one camera – scripting, singing and shooting his simple nuanced message – casting it onto the vast ‘net wasteland to be picked up and celebrated on its merit alone.

Pump, pump, pump that area,
Pump, pump, pump that area,
Pump, pump, pump that area,
But don’t give in to the hysteria.

Do you remember that September?
I remember that September.
You remember that September, that September this September.

If you prick me, I will bleed, if you prick me, I will bleed.
If you prick me, I will bleed, I will bleed, I will bleed,
If you prick me, I will bleed,
But I have lots of blood to bleed.

Pump, pump, pump that area,
Pump, pump, pump that area,
Pump, pump, pump that area,
But don’t give in to the hysteria.

If you mug me, I won’t run, I won’t run to get my gun
I won’t run to get my gun ’cause if I do then you’ll have won

Do you remember that September?
I remember that September.
You remember that September, that September this September.

the show with zefrank: 09-11-06

[ UPDATE:]
The back story leads me to believe the film was shot from Ze’s vantage across the East River 5 years ago.

Partial transcript from Ze’s Sept. 7th, 2006 show:

TekPhreak writes, “Were were You on 9/11/01.”

TekPhreak continues, “Ze, you live in Brooklyn, NY. Did you live there then? Where where you that day?”

Good idea, TekPhreak! Let’s talk about that now rather than on Monday when all the TV coverage will make me want to throw up in my shoes.

I did live in Brooklyn at the time. In fact, in this very same place. The night before, I was hit with a back spasm that was so bad that when I was lying on the floor I contemplated peeing myself rather than try to make it to the bathroom, which was about fifteen feet away. Before going to sleep that night I self-medicated with some Vicodin left over from a root canal…

…It was in that orange haze that I woke up late the next morning to the sound of the phone ringing. When the answering machine picked up, my sister the painter spoke in a voice that she would use to describe something normal, like a cookbook or a new pair of shoes. “We’re under attack. We’re being bombed.” I don’t know what else she said, but the Vicodin put a soft, almost cozy Hallmark blur around that moment. TV was out– the broadcast antenna no longer existed– so my little clock radio stepped up to fill in the gaps.

I live about five blocks from the East River, directly across from the southern tip of Manhattan. It took me and the tennis racket I brought along as a crutch almost forty-five minutes to make that trip. The tennis racket would be lost along the way as I stopped to lean on cars when my back seized up.

The parked cars were clean that morning, the last time they would be for weeks to come as the wind shifted the smoke plume directly over my neighborhood. The ash that would cover the windshields looked like a fine snow, except for the intermittent scraps of paper, some of which contained a legible word or two. The cars were dirty, but the dirt was somehow sacred, and even the school kids resisted the temptation to write “Clean me” in the passenger side windows.

By the time I reached the water, both buildings had collapsed, and lower Manhattan was engulfed in smoke. I tried to squint through it to make out any hint of something that might have remained. With no particular thought in my head, I started crying. A woman I assume was a nurse, ’cause she was dressed like one, came up and hugged me. She said she was sorry, something I didn’t understand, but still feels like the right thing to have said. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry…”

So in the last week, President Bush has called on Americans to use the five-year anniversary of September 11th as a chance to recall the unity that we felt in its aftermath. It was a pretty amazing unity. We were certainly bonded together by fear but also by a kind of hopefulness. It was a hopefulness from the experience of the amazing strength that we have when we decide to help each other.

That unity was not about the government. It was a shared determination among us to make things better. The President seems to think that “unity” implies supporting him and his policies. In my personal opinion, the President has no right to attach himself to that part of our experience. He already had his shot. While every other aspect of 9/11 is defiled this Monday, let us at least keep intact the memory of what that unity meant to us.

This is Ze Frank, thinking for myself.

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