26 votes

The 9/11 era is over

14 comments

  1. soctar
    Link
    Shoshana Zuboff's work also points to 9/11 as a cultural tipping point; The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a wonderful book, but a short interview with the author gets some of the point across....

    Shoshana Zuboff's work also points to 9/11 as a cultural tipping point; The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is a wonderful book, but a short interview with the author gets some of the point across.

    This was a really wonderful read. Thanks for posting! There's a trend that's been popping up lately that I'd broadly describe as "The Personal is still Political" (i.e. the craziness that we're in happening in part by accident, in part by catastrophic mismanagement); this piece acts as a nice framing for that.

    11 votes
  2. [3]
    Autoxidation
    Link
    Really good piece, and I appreciate the author sharing his journey and dealing with post-9/11 feelings. I was considerably younger than the author but vividly remember how it seemed every American...

    Really good piece, and I appreciate the author sharing his journey and dealing with post-9/11 feelings. I was considerably younger than the author but vividly remember how it seemed every American became very patriotic after 9/11. Flags were everywhere. Everyone seemed to be united and in agreement. It was pretty wild, looking back on it.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Diet_Coke
      Link Parent
      It seems that way looking back, but on the other hand hate crimes against Muslims (and Sikhs just because they wear turbans) went up and there's still an undercurrent of othering or outright...

      It seems that way looking back, but on the other hand hate crimes against Muslims (and Sikhs just because they wear turbans) went up and there's still an undercurrent of othering or outright racism towards them. One Pakistani-American I went to school with had government agents detain her family, question her father, and search their house because he was involved in a charity and travelled to Pakistan regularly. I remember how pretty soon the patriotism became jingoism, and being against useless wars was anti-American. The fear was incredible, my suburban nowhere middle school cancelled after school events in fear of Al Qaeda coming for us. It's so ridiculous looking back on it.

      23 votes
      1. Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        Oh yeah, the treatment of The Other at the time was abysmal and truly disgusting.

        Oh yeah, the treatment of The Other at the time was abysmal and truly disgusting.

        6 votes
  3. [10]
    Kuromantis
    (edited )
    Link
    Very interesting article about how the author dealt with his emotions and how Obama attempted to stop intervention but momentary circumstances kept pushing him the other way. One part I found very...

    Very interesting article about how the author dealt with his emotions and how Obama attempted to stop intervention but momentary circumstances kept pushing him the other way.

    One part I found very relevant was this:

    In 2019, I taught a course at UCLA on presidential rhetoric and American foreign policy. One of the speeches I had my students read was Bush’s address to Congress after 9/11, which still stands out as an exceptional piece of speechwriting. Just a couple of years younger than I was when I found those words so stirring, my students read the text as if it came from a different planet. Had the United States really made its entire national purpose a war against a group of terrorists? I asked them to list what they believed were the most pressing issues facing the country. Climate change topped the list. Economic inequality, student debt, structural racism, and a host of other issues filled it out. Not a single student mentioned terrorism. The generational appeal of Bernie Sanders—so out of step with the Democratic establishment I’d been a part of—was obvious in that room.

    As some Brazilian only born some 4 years after those attacks and seriously politically engaged for literally a few months now I would have never found a terrorist attack so serious and take a very 'some people did some one-off thing' view of the whole incident. How could 2 hacked planes scar a nation for a decade and a half? Aren't there more important things to do?

    5 votes
    1. Amarok
      Link Parent
      Hah. They didn't, it was the day unfolding in real time that did it. Everyone remembers exactly where they were when that shit went down, just like the moon landing. I was sitting at my desk...

      How could 2 hacked planes scar a nation for a decade and a half?

      Hah. They didn't, it was the day unfolding in real time that did it. Everyone remembers exactly where they were when that shit went down, just like the moon landing.

      I was sitting at my desk tinkering with a particularly grumpy old solaris server, one of those old Compaq systems with all the 'portwine' hot swap features. I was sharing an office with my supervisor, and he was one of those old Art Bell/radio listener types, loved conspiracy theories. He had a shitty little 4" black and white television on his desk for that stuff - and we watched the second tower come down on that screen along with the company owners who had popped in from the office across the hall. The boss just said, "Well, that's it, nobody's getting any work done today."

      See, at first it was just one plane. Might be an accident, no? At this point though, everyone's tuned in. Then after a while the second plane hits, then a little while later The Pentagon got hit, and then we heard of the fourth plane going down in PA. By then everyone was glued to the TV and radio. Every plane in the air was instantly grounded worldwide. Then the towers came down on live TV. The question on most people's minds right then was where to target the nukes.

      It's events that everyone focuses on in real time that really change our culture, regardless of the other circumstances. A universal shared experience outside of normal.

      17 votes
    2. [2]
      balooga
      Link Parent
      In addition to what others have said here, a point of clarification: It wan't two planes, it was four. Two for the WTC, one for the Pentagon, and one crashed in Pennsylvania before it could arrive...

      How could 2 hacked planes scar a nation for a decade and a half?

      In addition to what others have said here, a point of clarification: It wan't two planes, it was four. Two for the WTC, one for the Pentagon, and one crashed in Pennsylvania before it could arrive at whatever its intended destination was. Also these planes weren't hacked, they were forcibly hijacked by armed terrorists and an awful lot of innocent lives were needlessly ended that day.

      A lot of 9/11's power came from its symbolism. It represented a threat to a prosperous and peaceful way of life that a lot of Americans enjoyed. It's hard to forget the terror of uncertainty we felt as planes were being crashed by suicidal extremists, in a coordinated blow to multiple parts of the country at once. Were there more than four? We didn't know at the time. In all the hysteria there were rumors of planes coming down in every major city. We watched live as one happened, then another, then another... we didn't know when it would stop. We didn't know what the other targets would be, or why any of this was happening. The suddenness of it all on a random Tuesday morning, the audacious barbarism of it, snapped a lot of people out of their complacency. The World Trade Center was a symbol of American might, and then suddenly it was gone.

      14 votes
      1. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        Ah. I remember watching a video from alternate history hub talking about the symbolism of having the capitol/white house be destroyed by the fourth plane but didn't really remember what was the...

        In addition to what others have said here, a point of clarification: It wan't two planes, it was four. Two for the WTC, one for the Pentagon, and one crashed in Pennsylvania before it could arrive at whatever its intended destination was.

        Ah. I remember watching a video from alternate history hub talking about the symbolism of having the capitol/white house be destroyed by the fourth plane but didn't really remember what was the third target.

        Also these planes weren't hacked, they were forcibly hijacked by armed terrorists and an awful lot of innocent lives were needlessly ended that day.

        Oh, okay. That makes the Patriot act even more pointless since none of the terrorism was actually done online. Were there any restrictions on immigration put up after this?

        A lot of 9/11's power came from its symbolism. It represented a threat to a prosperous and peaceful way of life that a lot of Americans enjoyed. It's hard to forget the terror of uncertainty we felt as planes were being crashed by suicidal extremists, in a coordinated blow to multiple parts of the country at once. Were there more than four? We didn't know at the time. In all the hysteria there were rumors of planes coming down in every major city. We watched live as one happened, then another, then another... we didn't know when it would stop. We didn't know what the other targets would be, or why any of this was happening. The suddenness of it all on a random Tuesday morning, the audacious barbarism of it, snapped a lot of people out of their complacency. The World Trade Center was a symbol of American might, and then suddenly it was gone.

        Damn. That puts the emotional aspect of it into much better context. The best way to get people to do something is to scare the hell out of them and attack what they hold dearest.

        1 vote
    3. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      The US was coming off the Cold War with the Soviets and there was a little bit of melancholy in the air, now that we didn't have a forever enemy to butt heads up against, we were lost. We won the...

      The US was coming off the Cold War with the Soviets and there was a little bit of melancholy in the air, now that we didn't have a forever enemy to butt heads up against, we were lost. We won the war, but we were no longer winning. We tried turning inward, maybe we did some sketchy stuff to stop the Soviets, maybe we hurt so we couldn't be hurt again, but Love and War, right?

      Then, after 9/11, we had an enemy again, and even though it wasn't really a nation or even a creed so much as a rejection of America, it was enough, we were back, good guys fighting the bad guys and everything was amazing. We knew our place again, we could fight as many wars with shadow States as it took to get us oil and make us feel comfortable again, and all was well. Then we got a little more progressive, elected a black guy, and even though he was kinda into war and Pax Americana too, it was still kinda weird and new territory, so we decided to go old school with our next president, the whitest, most successful, "living his best life" guy we knew. And all the other countries scoffed and stared, but maybe that contempt was a little bit of jealousy? For the confidence, the power and influence? Sure he mouthed on Twitter, but this is America, we been through worse, and we'll be all the stronger and safer and more sure in ourselves on the other end of it.

      And that's what we really wanted all along, the Id of America anyway. Being the Good Guy is too much pressure, Bad Guy doesn't play well, but the Right Guy is always in style, and as long as we were the Right Guy, we couldn't be wrong. That was what 9/11 was, it was our super hero second wind, it let us be Right again in a world gone wrong and for the Right people, it was invaluable to knowing where we stood in the world.

      7 votes
    4. [2]
      arp242
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      There are a lot of different reasons for this, and it's complex, but I think one reason (among others) is that many Americans are brought up thinking that the US is the greatest country to ever...

      There are a lot of different reasons for this, and it's complex, but I think one reason (among others) is that many Americans are brought up thinking that the US is the greatest country to ever have existed. In many schools the pledge of allegiance is recited daily, or have a look at the rather hilarious American passports as another example. This belief goes back a long way, see e.g. American exceptionalism and Manifest destiny.

      There are of course plenty of detractors of this attitude; Noam Chomsky being perhaps the most well-known example. But many Americans subscribe by it to varying degrees, and were genuinely shocked that anyone would attack the greatest nation to ever have existed, and could explain that in no other way than "they must be the most evil kind of people to ever have existed".

      Again, there are a plurality of reasons, and many Americans don't subscribe to this view, but I think this is perhaps one of the more important ones.

      6 votes
      1. thundergolfer
        Link Parent
        Man, that passport is sooo American. Nailed it, I guess?

        Man, that passport is sooo American. Nailed it, I guess?

        1 vote
    5. papasquat
      Link Parent
      I think it was a very unique thing, being an American in the 90s. Everyone in the US pretty much thought they were invincible. We undisputedly had by far the most powerful military in the world,...

      I think it was a very unique thing, being an American in the 90s. Everyone in the US pretty much thought they were invincible. We undisputedly had by far the most powerful military in the world, our GDP was far, far above any other nation, the economy was booming, there hadn't been a significant attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor, and that wasn't even in the continental US.

      It honestly felt as a kid growing up in that time that the US truly was an exception to the normal rules of the world. Getting attacked was for other countries, in like, eastern europe, or the middle east, or south america. It was impossible to fuck with the US.

      It sounds arrogant, but that really was the prevailing attitude at the time. To have such a massively successful attack occur not only on US soil, but in the pride and joy of the United States, New York City, and have it take down one of the biggest monuments to American exceptionalism wasn't just sobering for a lot of Americans, it was world-view shattering. The fact that suddenly, not only were we vulnerable, but that we were vulnerable to third world islamists living in caves was a complete mind fuck. The whole country went absolutely nuts for almost a decade because of it.

      If it had happened virtually anywhere else, it would have been seen as an incredible tragedy, maybe there'd be some backlash and military operations because of it, but it would be a significant footnote in history, instead of the globe shattering phenomenon that turns everything on its head for an entire generation that it was.

      6 votes
    6. Diet_Coke
      Link Parent
      If you want to understand that time and how it happened better, you might want to check out a couple documentaries: The Power of Nightmares and, with a big heaping tablespoon of salt Zeitgeist -...

      If you want to understand that time and how it happened better, you might want to check out a couple documentaries:

      The Power of Nightmares

      and, with a big heaping tablespoon of salt

      Zeitgeist - which I would suggest not viewing as historically accurate (with the benefit of hindsight it should be pretty clear some of it was really out there), but because it focuses on the creation and power of simple good/evil stories.

      4 votes
    7. PetitPrince
      Link Parent
      Because it destroyed a symbol that was before in the realm of fiction. On this regard, this excellent piece by Lindsay Ellis comparing Independence Day and War of the Worlds. It's more about the...

      How could 2 hacked planes scar a nation for a decade and a half?

      Because it destroyed a symbol that was before in the realm of fiction. On this regard, this excellent piece by Lindsay Ellis comparing Independence Day and War of the Worlds. It's more about the film themselves but the 9/11 subtext cannot be ignored.

      4 votes