Nothing But Terror
Yesterday, I finished teaching Henry James' ambiguous ghost story "The Turn of the Screw" and finished reading The Looming Tower: Al -Qaeda and the Road to 9 / 11, and while both works focus on the theme of terror, they are exact opposites; "The Turn of the Screw" is purposefully obtuse, and relies on the reader's imagination to create the terror, while Lawrence Wright's account is definitive, comprehensive, and precisely detailed . . . and though you know exactly what happens at the climax, his description of 9/11 is so photo-realistic that it brings back all the terror of that day; in short, when you finish "The Turn of the Screw," you know nothing -- except that human perception is a bewildering puzzle to untangle, while at the end of The Looming Tower, you know why Osama bin Laden was able to get jihadis to die for him (and I now realize why that Arab man approached my wife and I when we were at a gas station in the vast desert between Syria, Iraq, and Jordan and said, "You like bin Laden?" and then handed me his cell phone, which had a cartoonish graphic of the World Trade Center going down, followed by a caricature of bin Laden smiling . . . creepy, especially when you are taking a service taxi, so you can't leave until the driver is done buying candied dates, though you feel your life may be threatened) and now to complete my month of terror, I am going to finish watching Zero Dark Thirty and then watch Argo, both of which I have on Blu-ray from Netflix.