London, Part II

Thursday, September 22, 2005

London, Part II

Near Leicester Square last night, I walked past a stand selling T-shirts. A lot were variations on a theme stemming from what's referred to here as 7/7, namely the bombings on the Tube a couple of months ago. The shirts have the familiar Tube symbol, but where the name of the station should go, there's a message like: "Still not afraid" or "al who?" The idea obviously being that we're going to go on living normally, and you can't make us stop.

Then there was the shirt with a frightening-looking silhouetted figure and the legend: "Kill Bush."

Now, I don't think there's anything inconsistent with taking a stand against the terrorists and also loathing Bush. After all, that's pretty much how I view things. While Bush was busy making sure that Americans in places that foreign terrorists have never heard of would stay afraid, I was staying in lower Manhattan, raising kids there, working across the street from the great mountain of rubble that used to be the WTC, and so on. And I think Bush is--well, if you read this blog, you know what I think.

But that T-shirt was so far out of bounds that I was astonished--and if you've lived in New York and Amsterdam for the past decade, it takes a bit to astonish you. It wasn't funny (not that it was meant to be), it wasn't appropriate, it wasn't...for once, I found myself at a loss for words. And, as an American, I have to say I took it as a bit of a personal afront to see that shirt for sale on a foreign street.

There is a line. And that went way across it.

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