Like That

He had just bought his daughter an ice cream cone and they were walking back to the car when the little girl’s arm, the one holding the cone, suddenly fell off and onto the ground. While he was reaching down to pick up his daughter’s arm the other arm fell off as well. The little girl was frightened and was about to say something to her father when her mouth fell off and into the puddle of melting bubble gum ice cream. He was telling her not to panic and trying to put her arms back on when both of her eyes fell out of their sockets. Looking for her mouth he accidentally stepped on her eyes. He told her not to worry, that he would fix everything, and that’s when both her ears fell off. Next to go were her legs. Now she was just a mute torso lying on the ground. The father scooped up all of her fallen body parts and looked at the stump that used to be his daughter. Before he could tell her not to worry, that everything was going to be okay, the little girl’s head detached from her neck and rolled down the sidewalk and into the street, where it was promptly run over by a four-door, gun-metal grey Taurus covered in dozens of pro-war stickers. The father gathered what was left of his daughter’s head, as well as the rest of her body, and placed the remnants into the trunk of his car, which was not covered in stickers, but dents and scratches from an assortment of parallel parking misadventures. As the father drove home he thought about his daughter and how he had always known that this day would come, although he hadn’t expected it to come so soon. He was, however, grateful for the time he had spent with her, and understood that he had been luckier than most. After that he didn’t think about her anymore.

From “The Aesthetics Of Destruction: Contemporary US Cinema And TV Culture,” by Mathias Nilges, Chapter 2 Of Reframing 9/11: Film, Popular Culture And The “War On Terror,” Edited by Jeff Birkenstein/Anna Froula/Karen Randell, Published By Continuum Books, 2010

“…in the aftermath of 9/11 and in the context of the “War on Terror,” destruction functions culturally and primarily as a solution to the problems posed by a complex and anxiety-inducing present. The beauty contained in contemporary representations of destruction is thus less an immediate aspect of the sublime spectacle that is destruction itself but rather constitutes a result of the effect of destruction. Unlike Cold War-era representations of destruction that mediated a dominant fear of annihilation, contemporary representations of destruction are beautiful because destruction is in fact an antidote to a world that produces the fears we seek to escape.”