September 11 in Popular Culture: A Guide

September 11 in Popular Culture: A Guide

September 11 in Popular Culture: A Guide

September 11 in Popular Culture: A Guide

Synopsis

It's likely that everyone who was in the United States in 2001 remembers exactly when and where they first heard that planes had crashed into the Twin Towers-and recalls their shock and disbelief when it came to light that these events were the result of an orchestrated terrorist attack. September 11 changed our country forever.

Excerpt

September 11, 2001, changed the landscape of American culture. Security lines at airport checkpoints, a national terror alert system, and years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan are visible changes to American life that can be directly traced to the events of that day. More poignantly, memorial sites in New York City, at the Pentagon, and outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, remind visitors from around the world that life before and after September 11 is forever marked by senseless loss of life that will impact children, loved ones, and an entire nation for generations to come.

While such changes are worth studying in their own right, other shifts in American life since 9/11 have also been powerful and long lasting. Virtually all areas of popular culture—those well-known, widely recognized books, TV shows, movies, songs, and visual images so central to twenty-first-century America—were deeply affected by the 9/11 attacks. A close examination of the relationship between September 11 and popular culture can reveal much about how the attacks were processed by ordinary people, how they have gradually become integrated into everyday life, places in which that integration has been resisted or slow to occur, and, finally, how popular culture has changed in the years since that tragic fall day.

September 11 in Popular Culture: A Guide offers readers a chance to look closely at seven different areas of American life after September 11: everyday life, books, news and information, television, film, music, and visual culture. A chapter is devoted to each of these topics, and each chapter includes two parts. The chapter introductions trace the way each particular area of popular culture responded to the attacks, both in the immediate aftermath and over time. In many cases, this evolution followed a similar path from grassroots reactions and industry-based responses, to the gradual production of books, films, TV shows, songs, and art about September 11. Most recently, September 11 has appeared in popular culture as a plot point or backdrop to other events or narratives suggesting that the event has become integrated into the way America thinks about itself. The second section of each chapter, Spotlight Essays, focuses more in depth on specific examples of the chapter’s topic. For example . . .

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