Aidan, one of the best prose stylists to come out of Williams in the last few years, writes about 9/11.

That’s what I took away, from my 15 minutes in high school at the base of those skyscrapers, impossibly tall, impossibly graceful, the (seemingly) casual expression of commercial and financial dominance, the markers, at the prow of Manhattan of the greatest city in the greatest civilization on Earth. What grace, what elegance, what sheer engineering audacity–110 stories! I felt pride. Pride is what I feel whenever I fly, (well, now, pride maybe mixed with a little trepidation) at the mix of physics and engineering, the (now) casual achievement of launching hundreds of tons of passengers and luggage and carryons and personal items into the sky–the fucking sky–and within hours, halfway across the globe.

I never considered that anyone thought anything else.

I never thought that barbarians felt rage. Hatred. Disgust. How dare planes fly? How dare air travel be inexpensive and over-arching? How dare skyscrapers house thousands productively working, a thousand feet above a bustling city? How dare they can, when we cannot?

I’m sure the Visigoths felt the same way when their filthy toes touched the smooth marbles of the Forum. There’s something unseemly, the distance between civilization and barbarism, and there’s only one barbarian response: to smash and destroy.

Read the whole thing.

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