Earlier this week, America was forced to relive the tragedy of 9/11 all over again as we looked back, with the futile gift of hindsight, to realize that it might never have happened had only Mark Wahlberg been there. Unfortunately, rather than simply lamenting the inscrutable twists of fate and Mark Wahlberg’s travel plans, some took this as a slight to the passengers who were on Wahlberg’s flight—who certainly can’t be faulted for their own response, as none of them had ever starred in Max Payne. Wahlberg has since issued an apology for coming off as insensitive, saying, “To speculate about such a situation is ridiculous to begin with, and to suggest I would have done anything differently than the passengers on that plane was irresponsible,” even though, come on, look at him.
Today Wahlberg once more apologized but also offered further explanation, saying, really, it was Men’s Journal reporter Erik Hedegaard’s fault for asking about 9/11 in the first place: “I also had a journalist who was asking all the questions and I'm trying to promote a movie,” Wahlberg said during an interview on New York’s WPLJ, where he was just trying to promote a movie but also getting a bunch of questions. He added, “It wasn't like all of a sudden I just decided I was going to get on this soap box and start talking about my opinion of 9/11. I was there to talk about the movie.”
Indeed, it’s unclear why Hedegaard felt he should pursue that line of questioning at all, unless he happened to read any of the many other Mark Wahlberg interviews where he’s talked about 9/11—including this one from 2006, when Wahlberg similarly posited, “We certainly would have tried to do something to fight. I’ve probably had over 50 dreams about it.” But obviously, just because Mark Wahlberg has been suggesting he thinks he could have stopped 9/11 for nearly six years now is no reason for Hedegaard to just bring it up like that. That was the past, and as we’ve been dispiritingly reminded this week, not even Mark Wahlberg can change it.