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Falling

That’s why you built the towers, isn’t it? Weren’t the towers built as fantasies of wealth and power that would one day become fantasies of destruction? You build a thing like that so you can see it come down. The provocation is obvious. What other reason would there be to go so high and then double it, do it twice? It’s a fantasy, so why not do it twice? You are saying, Here it is, bring it down (116).

It’s not just buildings we build high, but people.

The falling man in the novel is a character who represents the destruction of things high up. He starts out as a star. A hideous attraction we can’t take our eyes off of. From there he meshes and molds into something greater. People are photographing him, building his reputation. The public of New York makes falling man’s fame grow steadily. He lets his reputation continue to build and grow. Until he dies. Suddenly the tower that was falling man crashes and crumples to the ground. The crowd is more interested in his death than they ever were in his life.

 

Did you hear that Whitney Houston died? Me too. It’s all over Facebook. They were screaming about it on my hall on the 11th. Yahoo! News also informed me. She holds the world record for “Most Awarded Female Artist of All Time.” I didn’t know this until after she died. It could just be that I live behind a computer screen in my secret underground cave, but more likely it’s because as a society we find destruction far more exciting than triumph.

Why is destruction so fascinating? Are we thrilled be rubble and pain? Is it an attraction to disaster because such events are learning experiences? I’m not really sure, but it would be incredibly cool to find that out. There’s the saying that my mother always whispered to me just before the last click of the roller coaster’s climb, “What goes up… must come down.” It’s just gravity, but this “gravitational pull” also pulls a star from fame. Brittney Spears is famous for her music, but she’s also famous for shaving her head and then attempting to disappear off the media radar. TV shows and magazines that focus on the famous seem to have had more articles and specials out about when her career went south than when she was a top of the charts artist. Or these companies could have talked about her successes and her failures equally, but what I remember the clearest is what she did wrong. We have a fascination with destruction, otherwise we wouldn’t build things so high.

It’s not just towers that fall, but people.

 

One Response to “Falling”

  1. Olivia says:

    I find your reference to the words of your mother to be intriguing, inserted into your post as they are. The idea that the fall of the towers, like the fate of anything or person built up to a height that might be considered too high, was inevitably to fall is a bit haunting, as well as bold. I also find myself identifying strongly with your observation that human beings (or Americans?) are more fascinated by destruction than triumph.