Reason's sphinxlike silence on the Path to 9/11 controversy is mainly a function of my own skepticism about the controversy itself. ABC is free to blame 9/11 on anybody the network chooses (including me if they're inclined). Clinton veterans are free to complain and try and get them to change show. Harvey Keitel's only interesting when he's doing primal-scream full-frontal nudity. And anything that embarrasses pocket-pool champion Sandy Berger, the Gale Gordon of the Clinton Administration, is probably good for America. I don't see any problems in anything that's gone down about the show, and as a Penny Johnson-Jerald fan, I'm more interested in seeing tonight's installment than the Clinton-era stuff anyway.
However, having checked out a few minutes of last night's episode, I do have one plangent cry from the mouth of madness: Please, God, please, let the era of the shakycam come to an end! What sinister plot, what hatred of the west, what terrorist conspiracy is it that subjects the world's greatest democracy to the stomach-churning effects of artsyfartsy handheld camerawork day after day, movie after movie?
Who is to blame for the shakycam? Is it Steven Soderbergh, master of jump-cutting self-importance? Was it Saving Private Ryan's widely imitated shell shock? Was it NYPD Blue's fast-zooming overdirection? And the biggest question of all: Why has this supposedly documentary-style technique hit the big time at the precise historical moment when lightweight cameras and steadicams eliminated the shakiness from documentaries themselves? If you made an actual documentary that looked like The Path to 9/11, people would think your cameraman was having a heart attack. Exactly what is the sense of realism that the shakycam is trying to imitate? At this point, I'm content to leave these questions unanswered, to let the shakycam trend be remembered, like 9/11 itself, as a tragedy we'll never fully understand. Just let it end. Please, Disney, ABC, whoever: Buy yourselves a tripod already.