9/11 the movie and Morpheus
September 12, 2006 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Memorializing Hypereality maybe it is not always something 'new' that bears fruit but rather actually understanding something said before. Especially if we don't listen carefully the first time.
posted by hard rain (12 comments total)
Metafilter: Memorializing Hyperreality.

I was surpirsed by this essay:
...Braudy correctly identified the problem as not one of competing ideologies but fictions, born not from polarizing differences between Republicans and Democrats or hawks and doves, but instead of the real 9/11 and its ceaselessly looped simulations, whether represented by network and cable television news and talk programming, amateur video (so far the most valuable byproduct of the democratization of internet tech) or market-conscious film productions just in time for the fifth anniversary of 9/11's Oscar season like United 93, World Trade Center and more.

Braudy's conclusion on the clusterfuck is instructive: "The 9/11 commission comes out with one narrative, which no one reads. Then movies take a piece of it -- there's United 93 and World Trade Center. The Bush administration is pushing its own narrative of the meaning of 9/11 as justification for its policies. And now a miniseries comes into being that creates a narrative in a semi-documentary, fictionalized manner, which is very persuasive. Suddenly people who felt they know what really happened are being preempted by this fiction. Naturally they are going to be upset about it. Narrative creates closure."

Sometimes it does. But sometimes narrative, especially one as contentious and explosive as 9//11, only creates more narrative, as its initial reality (the event itself) gives way to time and the infinite reproductions of media. And so here we are, five years later, wondering how to situate, contextualize, memorialize and, most importantly, capitalize on 9/11.
If this post was made yesterday, it would have gotten a dot from me.
posted by illovich at 1:46 PM on September 12, 2006

Lacking advanced trainging in hermeneutics, I found this essay difficult to follow.
posted by GuyZero at 2:18 PM on September 12, 2006

This is pathetic, people. If you want to be pretentious, at least regurgitate someone interesting.
The blog you are reading now is a fine example of the process at work, a personal revolution built from the code up, one that has forever changed the definition of once-fortified concepts like "journalism," "journalist," "news," "propaganda," and forever onward. With the reign of material media (magazines, CDs, DVDs, and the like) stubbornly fighting off extinction, more than ever are turning to the Internet to give themselves....well, everything. They no longer need to sit at the altar of truths handed down from dominant culture. Instead, they can manufacture, promote and capitalize upon their own truths.
Am I a VC? Is this 1998? Welcome to the future! Guess what, nothing has changed! The Internet is as little a device for manufacturing our own truths as was the newspaper.

In any case, not only is this pompous piece of garbage deliberately overwritten (apparently in an effort to sound like Homi Bhabha, which is something like listening very intently to your dog as a way of imitating the Son of Sam), but the ideas it presents are old and tired. The one redeeming quality of the best of the last quarter-century's evidence-free rants on semiotics, deconstruction, cultural studies, poco, etc. is that they give us a new, thought-provoking, intelligent, and iconoclastic interpretive framework, or at least cause us to reconsider what we think is obvious. This smelly turd does neither. Of all the authors he could dully rehash, Scott Thill picks Baudrillard--who wrote one good book and immediately devolved into incoherent senility (I saw him give a lecture in November or so. It was like listening to a really high English grad student).

This is a good post, at least I'm now confident that someone out there understands Theory less than i do.
posted by nasreddin at 3:48 PM on September 12, 2006

crystalline apotheosis?

There should be a pseudointellectual drinking game based on ‘peed.

/also, Neuromancer references. Molly been Chiba too.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:57 PM on September 12, 2006

/sorry - smedley been chiba too...wittier/self-referential/topical...dammit!
posted by Smedleyman at 3:58 PM on September 12, 2006

/or does the correction count as hyperreal?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:59 PM on September 12, 2006

/'Dude are you being hyperreal?' phft. I don't even know anymore.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:00 PM on September 12, 2006

Am I a VC? Is this 1998? Welcome to the future! Guess what, nothing has changed!

Oh come on. You really think something like "loose change" would have gotten any traction in a pre-internet era? If anything, the Internet allows conspiracy-minded folk to come up their own interpretations. It's really amazing how many people think the government was "in" on 9/11.

So if anything, that's changed. Of course it's hard to compare it to anything, certainly Pearl Harbor isn't something that people have trouble believing the way they do the 9/11 narrative about 19 hijackers taking down the WTC.
posted by delmoi at 4:45 PM on September 12, 2006

delmoi: If American culture is good at anything, it's popularizing conspiracy theories. Richard Hofstadter's essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" does a really good job of showing the way consipracy theories spread before television or radio or anything else. Conspiracy theories were just as crazy and popular in the nineteenth century as today. So that much hasn't changed a bit.
posted by nasreddin at 4:58 PM on September 12, 2006

Actually, this quote, which is really the heart of the essay (one distinguishing characteristic of stuff like this is always that it could have been written in a tenth of the space) is not useless:
No, there is no closure when it comes to 9/11 and narrative, just as there was no closure on the Gordian knot of JFK's assassination. That the same director -- the cerebral, political Oliver Stone -- tackled both narratives in film is not instructive: The fact that his film JFK spiraled outward into fractal narrative, while his 9/11 film World Trade Center eschewed geopolitics altogether is. As the comedian David Cross hilariously explained in his live album It's Not Funny: "I don't think Osama bin Laden sent those planes to attack us because he hated our freedom. I think he did it because of our support for Israel, our ties with the Saudi family and our military bases in Saudi Arabia. You know why I think that? Because that's what he fucking said!"

All of which is a particularly funny way of looking back at the calamity that created our War on Terror, not as a narrative steeped in heroism and binarism, but as one full of mundane realities that play better as polished hyperrealities.
I think that's a good point. It's not a great essay, but not horrible, either. It's not like there's a whole lot of insightful commentary on 9/11 floating around.
posted by spiderwire at 5:21 PM on September 12, 2006

My response to 9/11 has been to basically ignore that it ever happened and avoid all commentary about it like the plague.

Does that make me a bad person?
posted by ddf at 7:12 PM on September 12, 2006

The majority of Americans don’t want to think about problems in other areas until it can be commercialized by a bunch of singers making a song with a catchy chorus or famous actors joining together to make a statement. The masses of this country (like any other) are sheep that don’t care as long as they have a job, roof, and food in their belly. 9/11 as horrible as it was, should have been a wake up that our country’s international policies need serious reconsideration. But instead, our government has used it to strike fear in the “god fearing” people in America and the only way to make them feel safe is to attack others, even if they are not connected to the terrorist that attacked us.
posted by Big Mike at 1:55 PM on September 14, 2006

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