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In a message dated Thu, 20 Sep 2001  4:41:50 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> writes:

>  Jonathan,
>   I'm still reading/thinking/opining/maybe responding; but just want to 
> intersperse that while I would agree that confusing the aesthetic with the 
> actual is not good, it may be too soon to say that what is an atrocity may 
> not also be a tragedy or be so from a different perspective, especially 
> after one allows as how one does not understand the symbolism involved in 
> the act. Miguel de Unamuno wrote about the tragic sense of life. I'm not 
> sure that the  tragic is not something bred in the bone.
>                         Ken Armstrong
>         

I assume J.'s point in this regard (among others, perhaps) is that the events of 9/11 were too removed from the character of the victims to qualify as tragic in the classical sense.  They might more readily qualify as tragic from the perspective of the perpetrators, who may be seen to have been brought low by their own defective characters: but such a twisting of meaning yields a result too obscene for me to contemplate just now.

I feel qualified to comment on this, despite my earlier admission of goatish ignorance, for a very specific reason.  As I understand it, the term "tragedy" derives from the ancient Greek for "goat-play", so named because the earliest such plays were presented at religious festivals in honor of Dionysius (associated with the goat.) 

Still giggling with goatish glee,

Tom K