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9/11 and American culture - Book Report/Review Example

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The traditional meaning of term "culture" in American anthropology is described as a cumulative outcome of the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences and acted creatively…
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9/11 and American culture
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Download file to see previous pages The American definition has had a positive undertone until 9/11. The element of negativity has crept in, post 9/11.
The definition of ‘Culture’ has undergone a sea change following 9/11. In his book 9/11 Culture,its author Jeffrey Melnicktalks at length about the various attributes which fuel this change.Melnick cites rumour-mongering through the oral route – FOAF (Friend-of-a-friend chain) approach as highlighted in the Babson podcast – and through emails, as a potent weapon used for influencing public opinion – to drive government policy and cover up for lapses having government-corporate links; abstaining from fear psychosis for race relations control – particularly, in respect of Afro-Americans,and using it effectively when deemed necessary, particularly for driving a wedge between cultures – say, Islamist and the Western culture. Under the cover of seemingly justifiable American involvements in the historical Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War, eulogising of the heroes of 9/11 on national television by celebrities of the silver screen [Telethon – America: A Tribute to Heroes] for putting up a show of Black-and-White solidarity for domestic harmony as a comforting translation of racial unity into national unity, is yet another brilliant observation which Melnick makes.
‘Grief’ as an emotion, he points out, was also tactfully exploited through the medium of posters to further the cause of national unity. In a state of unprecedented hurt, anxiety and fear, accent on “We” the American people as a united entity, worked like a balm to counter the shattering of national pride. Touchy issues like choice of the symbol of global capitalism – WTC, as a target; ‘blowback’ revenge of American foreign policy and virtual absence of Pentagon visuals for likely retaliatory posturing, were circumvented smartly by the use of ‘Recall ‘effect of sensitive visual images and their lasting impact on the human mind. The emotional chord of the viewer was played upon, for repetitive screening of the falling twin towers and the video images of valour and bravery displayed by the survivors and the rescue men, in the Melnick narrative on ‘Rising’. Cinema and Television have emerged as two very strong media for gauging and moulding public opinion. In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, there has been a flurry of activity and action on the ‘terror’ front, with ‘violence’ as the prime ingredient. Rambo II, Munich, Fahrenheit etc. are a few popular movies amongst the horde of movies made, which belong to the above genre. In the aftermath of 9/11 and the rapid strides made in computer hardware and software technologies, there has been an onslaught of a variety of animated films, cartoons and computer games where the emphasis has been on speed, stealth, deceit, revenge and violence – the key ingredients, of even the most modern films based on terror. Following the ‘Black September’ massacre on 06/09/1972 by the Palestinians and holding 11 hostages to ransom in the movie “Munich”, the protagonist of the movie exclaims: “These butchers didn’t want to share the world with us; which law protects these people; every civilisation needs to negotiate comprises with its own values, particularly when dealing with such uncivilised murderers; we can’t afford to be civilised either in dealing with them!” spells out the tone and tenor of the malaise called ‘terrorism’. It is in tune with children books’ author, Nancy Poffenberger’s poem on the terrorists. Similar sentiments have been exploited very successfully for commercial advantage in a wide range of movies ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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