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Good and bad art (music, movies, fiction, etc) inspired by 9/11

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Double Down, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Gawker had a piece today that some of the Springsteen fans here might be interested in reading, arguing that "The Rising" really shouldn't be the unofficial soundtrack when people think about what happened 10 years ago. The author argues that it's overwrought and tries way too hard to be important and there is some truth to that. But I also think it's become a bit too cute to declare The Rising a total failure. Yes, it does try to hard in places, and maybe is easily confused for a Verizon jingle, but some of it is pretty moving, I think. Some people seem to resent the fact that he tried to speak to what happened, as if anyone could be so arrogant to believe the world needed The Boss to put 9/11 in context, but I tend to forgive artists who swing big and miss. At least he tried something bold.


    Anyway, it got me thinking: What art inspired by 9/11 does resonate? Some critics make the case that everything post 2001 can be viewed in the context of having been influenced by the event, but I'm sort of interested in stuff that has some kind of direct or indirect connection.

    (I think I'd exclude journalism for the purposes of the discussion, simply because so much of it was so good, it's like drinking from a firehose and there is no way to name it all. Except for The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, which is possibly the most important book written in my lifetime.)

    Netherland by Joseph O'Neil is one of my favorite books written in the last few years, and it's mostly about post 9/11 New York and what it means to be an American, both in New York and in the West. I'd highly recommend it if you like literature.

    And I've read Jonathan Safran Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" which is, like The Rising, a noble but heavy-handed attempt to speak to what happened. It's very good in sections, but also a little cloying at times. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I'm a sentimental person, but it was still a little too sentimental at times for me.

    Ian McEwan's "Saturday" is about 9/11 in an abstract way, and it's my favorite of McEwan's books.

    Didn't read Delilo's "Falling Man" or Updike's "Terrorist" though neither got great reviews.

    Let the Great World Spin by Collum McCann is a beautiful book based around a set piece about Felipe Petite's walk across the Twin Towers, and it tries to tap into the idea (inspired by 9/11, I guess) that we're all part of the same thread. But can a book set in the 1970s really accomplish that goal? Maybe, maybe not.

    I never seen an episode of "Rescue Me" but this article makes a pretty good case that it was the only TV show to really address the gritty reality of how it affected people (using firefighters as the stand-in for all of us).


    On the flip side, you have the West Wing episode "Isaac and Ishmael" which is still one of the worst things Aaron Sorkin has ever penned.

  2. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Spike Lee's "25th Hour" wasn't necessarily inspired by 9/11, but it was the first major film to feature a post-9/11 New York. One of my favorite Spike Lee joints.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Before taking my shot, seconded on "The Looming Tower," which I mentioned on another 9/11 thread today. Fucker had the minutes of al-Qaeda's incorporation meeting. The minutes! (Not to make light, but apparently no Stringer Bell present that day to bellow, "N#*$*&, are you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?!")

    I believe the end of "Munich" lingers on a shot of the Twin Towers. Pretty powerful, considering what the movie was about.

    I'll try to think of some more direct attempts at 9/11 overnight.
  4. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    the Gawker thing is cliched boho-hipster oh-so-arch anti-Springsteen trollery ("I'll diss The Boss and watch all the boomer guidos come screaming!").

    "Isaac and Ishmael" is probably the worst WW episode.
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    I think Alan Jackson did a great job with "Where were you when the world stopped turning?" of capturing the pain and confusion from that day. Very emotional song, sung perfectly and it hits on just about everything people felt. Unless you were asleep or on a desert island during 9/11, if this song doesn't stir something in you then there really is something wrong with you.

  6. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    And he also manages to mispronounce both "Iraq" and "Iran."
  7. bumpy mcgee

    bumpy mcgee Well-Known Member

  8. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    United Flight 93 and World Trade Center were critically praised, but weren't blockbusters, I suppose, because for many people, it was all too intense to want to revisit (I'm in that camp). And the one failing of one of my fave shows ever, Friends, is that it pretended 9/11 never happened.
  9. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    The Tribute in Light was a beautiful piece of outdoor art:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  10. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Honestly, no song or movie or book related to 9/11 really inspires me. Certainly nothing captures that day or the months afterward, which taught me so much about myself and the people I live around (a lot of good, actually).

    But the best thing inspired by 9/11, was that first issue of the Onion, which actually tried to make people laugh. Everyone was being so solemn. David Letterman, John Stewart, and so many others with those morose monologues. They may have been appropriate at the time, but at a certain point you had to get back to life. And the Onion nailed it, and in my memory, really did it first.

    Here were two of my favorites:



    It's weird. I didn't plan this to coincide with this anniversary everyone is making a big deal over. But my girlfriend and I are reorganizing and throwing out stuff and I came across all the magazines I saved from the week after 9/11. The New Yorker cover is just black. I hadn't looked at it in years. It made me shiver all over again.
  11. Spartan Squad

    Spartan Squad Well-Known Member

    There's very little that I like in terms of art or music or movies that had to do with 9/11.
    That said, I did like the first SNL show after the attacks, specifically the opening scene. In more of a humorous sense I like South Park's "Osama bin Laden has farty pants."

    The rest I can't tell if it was just people venting emotions, which was needed, or if they were just capitalizing on a national tragedy. I kind of feel like Alan Jackson more fell into the later than the former. Venting emotions is fine, but I have a problem with using 9/11 to guilt people into buying something.

    But that's just me. I know for some, the art, music, books, movies, etc. were necessary, moving and good. And there's nothing wrong with that.
  12. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    Speaking of SNL, how could I have forgotten this?:

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
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