Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Making a Profit Off the Tragedy of Others

During my daily lunch ritual of channel surfing, a commercial came up advertising the 2001-2006 World Trade Center Gold and Silver Clad Commemorative coin -- which includes silver "miraculously recovered from a bank vault found under tons of debris at Ground Zero." This coin, which features a pop-up skyline of the World Trade Center (it actually sits up along the edge of the coin), is available for the low price of only $29.95 (normally $49.95, and not including shipping). If you're curious, you can see the coin here. Oh, and the company selling these is contributing $5 of each coin to an officially sanctioned 9-11 charities and memorials.

Perhaps I've been blinded to this sort of practice for much of my life, but when did America lose its sense of decency and begin to do everything imaginable to profit off of the tragedy and misfortune of others? I think it's commendable that they are making donations to these charities from the money they make from sale of the coins, but it takes a bit away from it when you read in the advertisement, "To mark the fifth anniversary, $5 of every 2001-2006 World Trade Center Commemorative order is donated...." Why not more? Why wait ten years to contribute $10, or 20 years for $20? The overhead on the production of these coins can't be that high; certainly they could afford to put more in the hands of the funds set aside for the families of the victims.

And there's something that sticks in my craw about crafting these coins from the wreckage of the World Trade Center. In my mind, Ground Zero is -- and always will be -- a gravesite; making a coin from silver found under the same rubble where thousands of innocents died to me is comparable to casting memorial plaques from the steel of the Titanic's hull. I wouldn't want the graves of my family desecrated in order to make a quick buck, and I don't think it should be from the remnants of what was once a proud symbol of New York.

Just a few thoughts from the midst of my lunch-hour outrage.....

5 comments:

julieunplugged said...

Yuck and double yuck!

I can't even go to the movie WTC because it seems way too close to my experience of the REALITY of 9/11. I can't understand how we move so easily past horror to this weird kind of memorializing that earns money, that creates entertainment...

Maybe it's just me.

Julie

Matt said...

It's not just you, believe me.

SusansPlace said...

Matt,

I wrote a comment and hit publish and it didn't show up! hmmm Oh, I see what happened-didn't do the "word verification" part.
You are welcome to link to my blog but I warn you, I don't update very regularly. ;-)

"84 Charing Cross Road" is one of my favorites! I feel so connected to Anne Bancroft. Year after year she saves to get across the pond and, like clockwork, something happens to postpone her trip. That's me. Have you ever been to an quaint London bookstore or just drooled over them via this movie?

Susan

Karen said...

Well, that made my stomach turn....not your post...the coin. Ick.

Matt said...

Karen, I agree -- and yet the commercials keep on scrolling across the screen...

Susan, I've never been to England (my wife has), but somewhere in the back of my mind I have this dream of retiring to a little village a few hours outside of London where I can read, walk through the fields, and maybe get some writing done. And, of course, spend a lot of time in the bookshops!