Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Beat the fear
From the May 17 edition of The New York Times:
Conde Nast Publications, whose stable of magazines chronicles the American zeitgeist as meticulously as any anthropologist, has reached an agreement to lease one million square feet at 1 World Trade Center, giving ground zero a much-needed corporate anchor with a proven ability to attract other businesses.
As positive this bit of news undoubtedly is to New Yorkers and the country at large, did any of you have the same dark, morbid thought I did upon hearing it? The first thing to enter my mind was this bit of paranoia: this is just like that scene in Jaws when all the beachgoers were afraid to go in the water after that first shark attack, but then a meek little family all of a sudden gets brave enough to wade into the water, and doesn't immediately get eaten... which of course results moments later in the floodgates opening and a torrent of mankind splashing into the sea to have fun. And we all know how that scene ended, as Chief Brody watches horrified from the beach.
Well, here's hoping that the first part of that scenario indeed comes true, and all kinds of vibrant private businesses will follow Conde Nast's patriotic (and, let's be honest, brave) lead and also move into the new complex. Otherwise, several pundits' predictions might come true, and only grey government agencies will fill the stylish office space because everyone else will be afraid to do so. So, kudos to Conde Nast for wading into the water first.
As for the second part of that comparison, and the general trepidation that generated the Jaws scenario in my head in the first place... well, there's always going to be a little bit of fear from here on out when it comes to setting up shop in anything called The World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, or even just visiting the location. But, to quote the highly unoriginal but probably true sentiment we've all heard countless times: we shouldn't let such feelings dictate our actions. As we all said as soon as September 13th or 14th of 2001, we must be vigilant, but life has to go on.
So, to pull another analogy from Jaws, while the "shark" that still scares us wasn't destroyed with the finality of the one in the movie, it's been suitably bloodied, especially in very dramatic fashion quite lately. It'll really think twice then, right, before circling in for another kill, especially in a location where it's hunted before with the whole world watching?
Sigh. This fear thing can be a real pain, can't it?