Thursday, September 21, 2006

Interpreting 9/11

Five years. It took for 5 years for the entertainment world to get its hooks into 9/11. Feature films (United 93, World Trade Center). Made-for-TV-movies (Flight 93, Path to 9/11). Books (102 Minutes, countless others). Now a comic book. Unreal.

Some of these have been remarkable, such as United 93. It brought the events to life for me in truly moving way. Some of them have been terribly skewed. Path to 9/11 is a great example of exploiting the facts for dramatic effect and/or financial goals.

There's something about a recreation of the actual events that changes the original experience. It draws out the drama of the event that reality, by its very nature, can't. We see the fight in the cockpit, or the confusion of the air traffic controllers.

More than anything, these "docu-dramas" can control how we view the events and manipulate perception for a specific emotional reaction. The players in the story can lionized, or demonized, at the will of the writer. This removes any pretense of objectivity and should spark red-flags waving "propoganda."

I was here in the city and saw most of it from a far, but still with my own eyes. These recreations bring a bigger, more public view of the events to a wider audience. In a small way, I feel robbed of my own personal connection. But that is a selfish and fleeting notion. Comparing my own experience with those of the victims' families always reminds me how little I have to complain about.

It took Pearl Harbor 12 years to make it into the movies with From Here to Eternity. With the increased access to media we now have, and the insane hunger America has to express a communal consciousness in media, I guess 5 years is a fair amount of time.

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