American popular culture after 9/11. This installment covers Sept. 12, 2004, through the end of 2010 -- a dense, varied, fast-evolving period that saw authors, filmmakers, TV producers, graphic novelists and other creative minds dealing with the attacks head-on and in metaphor. This was by far the most difficult of the three slide shows to assemble because by the middle of the last decade, the pop culture response had become more entropic and distracted, and it was harder to find works that were only about the attacks themselves; works about the war on terror, the Afghanistan and Iraq occupations, civil liberties and government conspiracy were, in a sense, about 9/11 as well.
So, Joe Scarborough only produced the second-grossest 9/11 "tribute" video I've seen this week. Herman Cain's presidential campaign produced this monstrosity, in which Cain croons "God Bless America" over footage of the 2001 attacks and their aftermath.
TORONTO -- I don't have the impression too many people visit Canada's Queen City for the beaches, but this year's Toronto International Film Festival got underway in such spectacular end-of-summer sunshine that you wanted to hit the lakeshore instead of going inside. That didn't stop an hour-long line from forming outside the luxurious new Bell Lightbox theater on King Street for the press screening of David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," a film that carried us across the ocean and back in time, to early 20th-century Europe and the first years of modern psychiatry. You wouldn't know this was a Cronenberg film if you didn't know it going in, and I offer that neither as praise nor criticism. Even as it deals with sexual perversity and severe mental illness, "A Dangerous Method" is a restrained and elegant costume drama driven by characters, language and ideas, not violence or outré imagery.
(This essay appears on the CounterPunch website, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair.)
Barack Obama stood before a joint session of the United States Congress yesterday and implored them to put aside partisan gridlock and get back to passing desperately needed legislation, to help heal an ailing nation. And Congress listened. Today, after unanimous consent that the bill be discharged from all committees, the House passed, by voice vote, a vital resolution reminding everyone that it's almost the 10th anniversary of 9/11. America's back!
You could say that the events of September 11, 2001, had little or no effect on the production and consumption of Hollywood movies, or you could say that the effects have been so pervasive it's difficult to make them out. Both things are true.
"What Does An Important Person Look Like?" That's the question Jennifer Dalton poses in her new "Cool Guys Like You" exhibition, opening Friday at New York's Winkleman Gallery. And in case you hadn't guessed, the answer is: a dude.
Liberals aren't the only Americans making approving noises about the American Jobs Act rolled out by President Obama Thursday night. Private economic forecasters are also giving it a thumbs up: Moody Analytics' Mark Zandi went so far as to predict the plan would add two million jobs.
The race to fill Anthony Weiner's former House seat is actually pretty meaningless -- New York's 9th District is liable to be redistricted out of existence soon -- but it's getting plenty of attention, because Democrats might be about to lose a formerly safe seat in New York City, of all places. Democrat David Weprin has run a lousy campaign, and Republican Bob Turner is having quite a bit of success running mostly on the platform that Weprin will team up with Barack Obama to destroy Israel. Siena college now has Turner at 50%, with Weprin at 44%. That's within the margin of error, but it's obviously a bad sign for Democrats.
In an attempt to blunt the surging presidential candidacy of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Mitt Romney recently embraced two hot-button immigration issues in an appeal to Tea Party followers: He called for an end to so-called sanctuary cities harboring undocumented aliens, and he insisted that the next president "must do a better job of securing its borders, and as president, I will."
The most common claim to justify endless civil liberties erosions in the name of security -- and to defend politicians who endorse those erosions -- is that Americans don't care about those rights and are happy to sacrifice them. The principal problem with this claim is that it is false, as a new Pew Research poll demonstrates:
"Talk about the best education," says Kate Winslet. Speaking to V magazine this month, the Oscar-winning, eminently glorious actress explained why she likes raising worldly children. In the interview, she relates how her 7-year-old son Joe "turns to me the other day and says, 'One day I will have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, darling. Which would you prefer?' And I said, 'My love, that would be entirely up to you, and it doesn’t make any difference to me.' But that he knows! It’s a real privilege."
KABUL, Afghanistan -- When Al Qaeda's planes hit the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, the world altered for everyone.
In his new book "Humiliation," the poet and cultural critic Wayne Koestenbaum explores his life-long fascination with our most shameful and cringeworthy moments and delves into his own painful past.
Two cheers for the President and his America's Jobs Act. Cheer Number One: In presenting it to a joint session of Congress, he sounded as passionate and determined as he's ever sounded.
Wednesday night's GOP debate had the punditsphere a-twitter over the contrasting debate styles of the race's two front runners, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. But there can only be one winner, and Stephen Colbert could clearly see that it was none other than Rick Parry (with an "a"). On the "Report" last night, Colbert broke down Perry's remarkable debate performance by highlighting a few of the Texas governor's key strategies: Comparing himself to Galileo, boasting about his record of executions in Texas, and, of course, declaring that social security is a Ponzi scheme.
First the good news: Liberals who were looking for Obama to "go big" -- to make an aggressive case for immediate action on unemployment and to use his bully pulpit to "change the political conversation" -- got more or less what they wanted from the president's jobs speech on Thursday night. The Nation's Ari Berman captured the tone of a lot of liberal tweeting in the immediate aftermath of the speech: "This was the Obama we've all been waiting for."
Ten years ago this week, I, like many living in Washington at the time, was fleeing my office building. In those minutes of mayhem, I knew only what the police were screaming: Get out fast, because we're being attacked by terrorists.
Counterterrorism officials said Thursday they are investigating a credible but unconfirmed terror threat involving New York or Washington.
With crisp, stripped-down storytelling that matches its clinical and beautifully composed images, Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion" delivers the gripping, tick-tock tale of an epidemic that threatens to destroy civilization, but presents it virtually without comment. You can't even be sure, based on this evidence, that Soderbergh thinks the destruction of social order that might follow a worldwide mutant-flu pandemic would necessarily be a bad thing. OK, Scott Z. Burns' screenplay inserts a number of familiar Hollywood-style "human touches," including a heroic female scientist (Jennifer Ehle) who breaks the rules of vaccine development and a nefarious blogger with bad teeth who serves as the human villain (played by Jude Law, of all people). But Soderbergh resists that stuff as much as he can, and the result is a chilly, fascinating thriller at odds with itself, one whose most interesting qualities may limit its box-office appeal.