Meditations on a Google Street View Money Shot


The attacks of September 11, 2001 are about man—though those men would argue, and others have fervently joined this argument, that it’s about God. By “man” I mean post-imperialism, terrorism, war, and our existential responsibility over our actions.

In Arabic “al” means “the,” and so the God in Allah is really “lah,” or specifically, “il?h.” There is a difference between saying “The God” and “God,” though I can’t say exactly how. The English word “God” is Germanic; God, until the seventh day, was manic.

The reality TV show “Big Brother” borrows its name and concept from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four, in which cameras mark their territory by the breadth of their recording. Television’s appropriations tend to be facetious or frivolous, so let’s just say the show is not ponderous, only ponderous to watch.

Christians wait any day for Christ’s descent: the greatest welcome back party of all time. On September 11, 2001, some people jumped from windows and marked their own descent on the pavement below, their final shapes unhuman. We do not consider those acts suicide (though they technically were) because we consider suicide a moral act, and those victims’ morals had been subjugated by the terrorist’s.

The fecal money shot of bird shit splattered across Google street view’s camera is an optical illusion that evokes the attacks of September 11, 2001. The splatter marks the first point of impact in the side of the building, when all was still calm below. The picture’s vanishing point, while pedestrian, does not move horizontally towards an ideal landscape, but vertically, upwards towards the heavens.

We place those we love in two places after they pass: 6 ft. below and 6000 ft. above, though the latter is wishful thinking. I saw on the news once a Muslim woman crying “Allah” because her daughter had been blown to pieces by a bomb. How do you bury parts of a person? How do you remember to say “The” before God?

Google uses “democracy” similar to our government: as a public relations word, as an idea that everything is fair. As Google quickly gains Orwellian control over just about everything, I find it wonderful how a bird can still take a dump anytime and anywhere it wants, completely dismissive towards our plight below.