hathor: (Sock Monkey)
posted by [personal profile] hathor at 11:42am on 11/09/2014
When I was studying psych in grad school, one of the concepts discussed was the flashbulb memory, a highly detailed, exceptionally vivid 'snapshot' of the moment and circumstances in which a piece of surprising and consequential (or emotionally arousing) news was heard. Usually these are highly personal, but occasionally there is an event of importance that impacts an entire community, a whole country, or the world, for which almost everyone will hold flashbulb memories. I went to grad school in the 90s, so the go-to flashbulb memory event was JFK's assassination, even though it happened before many of the students were born. Myself, I was born two months after. Therefore, I have an alibi: I wasn't the second gunman; I was in my mama's tum-tum trying to grow my toes in a more interesting order -- but I digress. Anyway, there's a new go-to flashbulb memory now, and yup, I remember where I was when I heard the news. So yeah, important, impactful event.

You know what I don't remember though? From when I was 5 or 8 or 12? Having an annual day of being maudlin to ensure that those flashbulb memories get called up, touched up, fired up. I think it's a new thing, to have an annual day of dwelling on something awful happening; well, there's Good Friday, but even as a non-Christian I can appreciate how incredibly important that is - and it's got a lot of history. I'm wondering what happened in the thirty-eight years between November 22, 1963 and September 11, 2001 to cause this change. Is it just the proliferation of social media? Has the Zeitgeist changed? Is there something inherent of the events of 9/11 that inspire this type of prolonged agony, that is NOT inherent in the events of 11/22?

I'm curious. I'm also kind of sick of dwelling on it.

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