Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Say, can you see?

Technological development has improved telecommunications, travel, sanitation, computing, and most anything else you can think of. We can contemplate the atoms of the Big Bang, send complicated devices to other planets, and steal music on the internet. We can even kill lots of people much more elegantly and impressively than ever before.

But post-modern fireworks are stupid.

Has there been any change? Any innovation? Any genuinely new thing in the last thirty years of technological development? Fireworks nowadays seem shorter-lived and smaller than their grandparents were.

We set some off on December 31. Put them on the street and lit them, or flung them in the air in hopes they would ignite mid-air. The most memorable thing about the evening was finding that Sean throws – well, not like a girl, but definitely in a manner unbecoming a former marine.

We got our thrills, but purely from supercharged snark and irony. My favorite was the Twin Towers firework. No, we did not pick it up on the streets of Damascus – as well you should ask. The idea of setting fire to some representation of the World Trade Center strikes one as slightly anti-American. Not so! This is in fact a sober and wholesome commemoration of America’s darkest hour – a day stained in blood, ashes, dust, and the echoed threats of hostile zealots from halfway round the world. What better way to remember it all than with your own little conflagration, right out on your driveway?

At least, that’s what the sellers of this product are saying. Now, to me fireworks have never seemed to have much meaning. Light fuse. Watch lights. Repeat. If there is some sort of higher symbolism, it escapes me, and I will need enlightening. I think what gets me is the similarity of the firework product to the actual World Trade Center. You don’t set fire to things you love!

The makers of the Twin-Towers-in-a-box foresaw this uncomfortable interpretation to this questionable activity. Writing on the top of the box sets us straight. “When you light this firework, you are not reliving the tragedy, but remembering the sacrifice and spirit of our great nation on that terrible day.”

Just below that it solemnly intones, “Remove lid before lighting.”

So anyway, we lit the Twin Towers and saw them burn for a few seconds in an extremely modest haze of sparks. Nobody would have died in that fire. Think twin engine Cessna rather than super jumbo 747.

It lit up with red sparks, then white sparks, and then purple sparks.

It seemed fitting, somehow.

1 comment:

Esperanza said...

The Twin Towers firework...that is just sick. Beyond sick.