A Break from Reality

Most people are able to sum up the events of the recent tragedy in the United States in a single word: surreal.
October 1, 2001

Most people are able to sum up the events of the recent tragedy in the United States in a single word: surreal.

The ultimate reality show. Too real to be possible.

For the people here at Brunico, it was anything but surreal. It was very real. Our sister publication, KidScreen, had a conference in New York at the time, only half an island away. But for a few incidentals, it might have been going on at the Millennium Marriott beside the World Trade Center. I’m sure others have similar stories. Might have… Could have been… Most eventualities are better left unexplored.

Those of us who weren’t there glued ourselves to a TV screen and put our lives on hold so we could soak up as much information as possible, trying to decipher what had happened and perhaps even more imperatively, what was about to happen. The world suddenly became a very small place.

As we return to a semblance of normalcy, there have been discussions about when we should get back to it. What is the proper amount of time you should put between such a horrendous act and the resumption of normal life? It’s something we’ve all had to decide for ourselves, for our own reasons and in reflection of our own experiences. Brunico has cancelled a conference in the next few weeks, and there is talk that others should do the same. (How important is it that I be in Cannes in the next week or in Boston the week after…?) As I say, everyone has to decide for themselves.

But, after watching television day and night for a solid week, after seeing a thousand interviews with ‘experts’ and ‘common’ people from around the world, I have only one plea for the doc community: get back to it as soon as you can.

I have witnessed more blatant misinformation in the last week – more opinion and guesswork disguised as fact – than I can ever remember experiencing before.

As a global society, we are in desperate need of education. We are in need of perspective and understanding. The history of the next century will be decided in the next few months, and we need to make choices from an enlightened, intelligent position.

Like it or not, television is the source of most people’s world perspective and we need to make sure we’re there to provide it – in a fair and balanced way.

Brendan Christie


About The Author
Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.