American Culture Transformed: Dialing 9/11 by Priscilla Walton, Bruce Tucker

By Priscilla Walton, Bruce Tucker

The bombing of the dual Towers in manhattan on September eleven, 2001, marked an important turning element in smooth American tradition. Authors Bruce Tucker and Priscilla L. Walton research severe moments within the aftermath of Sep 11 arguing that commentators deserted complexity, trying to decrease occasions to their easiest signification.

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Clearly, Captain Campbell’s murder is some kind of replay of this assault, but, although her killer is discovered, the film depicts the more horrific crime as the psychological murder of Lizzie after the rape at West Point, which, the investigators deduce, was covered-up by her father. The restaging of the rape – engineered by Captain Campbell – was meant to force her father to confront the consequences of his decision to dissuade her from prosecuting her rapists. As Brenner realizes, the general had made a deal with military officials to ignore the rape (in return for a promotion), so as not to discourage women from attending West Point or joining the armed forces.

That the Germans murdered almost 12 million people in death camps does not, to apply the theorists’ contentions to a specific event, excuse the violence perpetrated on Dresden. We are indeed all complicit, as Derrida noted, and this too is a truth. Oskar’s story, then, is interspersed with his grandparents’ tale of the Dresden bombing, and, thus, Foer places 9/11 in an historical context. Consequently, in an enactment of trauma, Oskar’s grandparents (both survivors of Dresden), who can only communicate in writing, ultimately reunite; yet, when they do so, they find they can only live together in the lounge of (presumably) JFK Airport, since the memories of Dresden will not allow them to settle in any particular place.

144–5) Certainly, the play predicts trouble, and, while Kushner may be right that others should have foreseen the troubles, it was, nevertheless, Kushner who wrote about them. Vonnegut is dead! Long live Vonnegut! Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is, we would argue, the definitive 9/11 novel. While clearly our pronouncement is a matter of taste – and thus, in effect, inarguable – we are employing Heroes, Hype, and History 23 (as one of our criteria) Butler’s contention that 9/11 must be put into context: If we believe that to think radically about the formation of the current situation is to exculpate those who committed acts of violence, we shall freeze our thinking in the name of a questionable morality.

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American Culture Transformed: Dialing 9/11 by Priscilla Walton, Bruce Tucker
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