I try not to let current events get to me, or especially get to this site (there’s so little playwriting here that any dilution will completely overwhelm the Anthology), but news tonight that Osama bin Laden is almost definitely alive really shook me up. Unlike the last bin Laden tape, this batch of idiotic ramblings talks a lot about the pressure on Iraq, and how the Iraqis should martyr themselves for bin Laden’s cause. Our nation’s response? Colin Powell says, “See, I toldja there’s a link between al Qaeda and Iraq.” Yeah, a radio broadcast link, if even that. This is evidence that the man declared “Wanted: Dead or Alive” is still alive and at large, and Powell seems to care nothing about him. Bush appealed to the Iraqi citizens in his most recent State of the Union Address: “The day [Saddam] and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.” His words have likely reached more Iraqis than bin Laden’s.
This news, and its reception by the executive branch, made me furious. You’re reading the words of someone whose most fierce reaction to the September 11th attacks was to recycle a Simpsons quote, and whose reaction to the Moscow terrorist takeover of Nord-Ost was to try and sell a Noises Off version of the events. What these emotional events didn’t do to me, this apathy from the government did. I jumped off my bed, put on my coat, and walked to Wawa, upset and in need of some chocolate.
“Emily, that was excellent,” he responded—not to me, but to director Emily Mann as she stepped out of the house. I nodded.
“It will get better; you have to come back,” she said to the both of us. “Oh, definitely,” Tim said. I nodded.
My incoherent version of the events did not seem to light a fuse with Tim; I guess Shakespeare cools tempers. I continued to Wawa, bought a bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies and a gallon of milk, and went to the checkout counter. At first there was silence between the young clerk and me. Normally I respect that. But I needed a connection.
“So I turn on the news, and there’s a new bin Laden tape. And this one’s probably recent because he talks about Iraq.”
From the clerk: “Oh.”
“And then they have the government response, and Colin Powell’s like, ‘So?'” I threw my hands up.
So I got a little bit of empathy.
I returned home and found my other housemate Jason on the couch. I went to the kitchen, poured myself a glass of milk, and—this is what I’m most ashamed of—I took the milk and cookies back into the living room and watched The Man Show with Jason, sulking and stuffing my face.
Turning to food for emotional support? Watching penis jokes for fifteen minutes? This isn’t like me. All because there are terrorist masterminds on the loose and my government doesn’t care.