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Nine-Elevenism

Juanjo Bermúdez de Castro
Cet article est une traduction de :
Nine-Elevenismo

Texte intégral

The literary text is a time-and-place-bound verbal construction that is always in one way or another political. Because it is inevitably involved with one or more discourses or an ideology it cannot help being a vehicle for power. As a consequence, and just like any other text, literature does not simply reflect relations of power, but actively participates in the consolidation and/or construction of discourses and ideologies, just as functions as an instrument in the construction of identities, not only at the individual level – that of the subject – but also on the level of the group or even that of the national state. Literature is not simply a product of history, it also actively makes history.
– Hans Bertens on New Historicism and Cultural Materialism, Literary Theory

  • 1  George W. Bush, « Address to the Nation on the Terrorist Attacks », September 11, 2001, Public Pap (...)

1There is a way of coming to terms with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 which has emerged as the predominant course of action in the United States. This mode of discourse, which could be called « Nine-Elevenism », is supported by governmental institutions, the mainstream media, and especially by those who have re-visited and re-created the event through fiction, that is, novelists, film directors, scriptwriters, cartoonists, etc. Nine-Elevenism can appear in different guises: demonizing and generalizing discourses, in which a new identity label that emerged after 9/11 – a religious, racial and ethnic mix merely based on physical appearance and conformed by Muslims, Arabs, Middle Easterners, and whoever looks like Muslim, Arab or Middle Easterner – becomes the constructed « evil » object of both suspicion and retaliation; victimizing and heroizing discourses, in which individual stories of loss, mourning, trauma, survival and rescue, well through arguments ad misericordiam appealing to pity, or by extolling the heroic deeds mostly performed by white male officers, are generalized when reaching the public domain – « Today our nation saw evil… And we responded with the best of America… Our country is strong »1 –, and turned into dangerous, blindly patriotic discourses resurrecting the old imperialistic rhetoric of the « manifest destiny »; and finally, « hystoerical » contextualizations of the event, which, obsessed with memorializing the 9/11 date, reformulate contemporary history in Dickensian terms like « everything has changed, nothing has changed » while neglecting to specify « for whom » it has changed, and more importantly « for whom it has not ». The present article will analyze how some US 9/11 fictional works – novels, films, TV series, short stories, and comics – have rewritten the historic event under these ideological limitations imposed by Nine-Elevenism.

Demonizing and Generalizing Discourses

Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward… Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature… The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts.

– President George W. Bush, « Remarks at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, on the Terrorist Attacks » and « Address to the Nation on the Terrorist Attacks », September 11, 2001.

We’re facing a different enemy than we have ever faced. This enemy hides in shadows… An enemy who preys… runs for cover… An enemy that tries to hide, but it won’t be able to hide forever… America is united. The freedom-loving nations of the world stand by our side. This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil, but good will prevail.

– President George W. Bush, « Remarks Following a Meeting with the National Security Team », Washington, September 12, 2001.

We’re mounting a sustained campaign to drive the terrorists out of their hidden caves.

– President George W. Bush, « President’s News Conference on the State of the War in Afghanistan » October 11, 2001.

2On September 11, 2001, nineteen men hijacked and crashed four passenger planes, three of them against crowded buildings in the United States. These men were terrorists, not state-sponsored ones but part of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden among others. Fifteen were Saudi Arabians, two from the United Arab Emirates, one Lebanese and one Egyptian – not a single one was from either Afghanistan or Iraq. These men were also religious fundamentalists, in its Islamic version.

  • 2 Nick Sullivan and Karen Robinson (ed.), September 11th Crisis Response Guide, Human Rights Educatio (...)

3Amnesty International confirmed that in the immediate week following 9/11 there were at least 540 reported attacks on Arab-Americans in the United States, dozens of mosques were vandalized, and there were also more than 200 reported attacks on Sikhs – citizens of Indian descent who practice Sikhism and wear turbans and beards because of their creed2.

4What is the connection between these two groups of events? How do the former acts of violence lead to the latter? In most of the cases it turns to be a wrong generalization assumed by part of the population: from terrorists and fundamentalists to Muslims, Arabs, Middle Easterners, and whoever looks like Muslim, Arab or from the Middle East.   

  • 3 Daniel J. Sherman and Terry Nardin (ed.), Terror, Culture, Politics: Rethinking 9/11, Bloomington, (...)

5Coincidentally – or not –, such dangerous and erroneous social synecdoche – considering one portion as the whole – is ubiquitous within US 9/11 fictions. The representation of terrorists and fundamentalists within the corpus of American novels, movies, TV series, short stories and comics dealing with the events of September 11, 2001 is minimal, and in the few instances these individuals are represented, it is mostly to convey anti-Muslim or anti-Arab rhetorics. Daniel J. Sherman and Terry Nardin point to this fact in Terror, Culture, Politics: Rethinking 9/11 remarking that « there is a market for popular novels and movies… which rather than investigate on the attacks’ direct causes, it is oriented towards an imaginary enemy that is « evil »because it opposes American ideals of individualism, devotion to family, patriotism and self-sacrifice »3.

  • 4  George W. Bush, « Remarks at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, on the Terrorist Attacks » Septe (...)

6The minimal presence of terrorist figures within the entire production of US fictions inspired on 9/11 can respond to a variety of reasons: to what is the principal message – chosen among many  – that has been attempted to convey through fiction to a general audience in order to suit mainstream appetites – the vast majority of US 9/11 narratives are stories of loss and recovery, starring White Americans –; to what color – mostly White – are the authors – mostly male – whose 9/11 works have reached the popular status of best-sellers or movie hits in the US; and finally, to who seems to deserve to be depicted – and who does not – in such 9/11 works, as the majority of these fictions serve as homage to the victims. President Bush’s remark that « Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward »4 does nothing but deny a « face » to the terrorists, and as Judith Butler points out in Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence:

  • 5  Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, New York, Verso, 2004, p. xvi (...)

The media representations of the faces of the « enemy » efface what is most human about the « face » for Levinas… Those who remain faceless or whose faces are presented to us as so many symbols of evil, authorize us to become senseless before those lives we have eradicated, and whose grievability is indefinitely postponed.5

7Indeed, concerning the prevailing « fictional » absence of terrorists and their perspectives within the corpus of US 9/11 fiction, it can eventually be stated that it was in some way paralleled in real life by the virtual disappearance of Muslims, Arabs and Middle Eastern-looking people from the streets of America in the weeks that followed 9/11, fearing precisely the already mentioned synecdochical effects that resulted in an epidemic of hate violence directed against their « color » faces.

  • 6  Jonathan Markovitz, « Reel Terror Post 9/11 », Film and Television After 9/11, Wheeler Winston Dix (...)

8In the few cases that terrorist figures appear in US 9/11 fictions, the two most frequent expressions employed to refer to them in these works allude to the terrorists’ supposedly archaic way of living – with caves as one of its principal signifiers – and their innate evil condition. These two same characteristic images were precisely the most recurrent ones within President George W. Bush’s post-9/11 public discourses when he referred to the terrorists. Both depictions had an enormous influence on the way the 9/11 terrorists were collectively imagined in the United States. As Jonathan Markovitz underlines in « Reel Terror Post 9/11 », « The stark rhetoric of the Bush administration’s quest to eradicate evil finds a perfect correlate in films that cast A-list Hollywood stars in battles against the calculating and murderous violence of always highly racialized terrorist “others” »6.

  • 7  Stan Lee, « The Sleeping Giant », 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stor (...)
  • 8 Ibid, p. 178.

9Comic editors were among the first in arranging collective works that offered a response through fiction to the events of September 11, 2001. One example where it can be observed how the institutional influence actually operated upon fictional works is the comic « The Sleeping Giant » by Stan Lee. The former president of Marvel Comics, and co-creator of such popular comic characters as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four or the X-Men, depicted now in « The Sleeping Giant » a planet inhabited by anthropomorphic animals ruled by a « gigantic, mighty… tender and caring » elephant – it could not be a donkey – who « spent much of his time in happy slender » due to the reigning peace of his kingdom7. The text remarks how among all the animals there were also scattered many mice with whom « the elephant king and all his subjects were content to coexist », and it depicts in a new panel some mice in working custom: an executive running late, a cook, a baseball batter with the Yankees uniform, a couple of farmers and an overworked cobbler8. Considering that eventually some « evil mice » will set fire to the elephant’s cathedral, it is not clear whether these initial mice are Muslims, Arabs or Middle Easterners. The fact is that their difference from the rest of animals who are « content » to live with them is made evident proposing the dichotomy of either terrorists or hardworking immigrants assimilated into the American way of life in order to be « tolerated ».

10It is when the comic portrays the « evil » mice – one of them even wears a 666 on his Islamic garment – raising their hands in anger, surrounded by flies and skulls, and « fleeing, and hiding » in dirty places like some public baths with the Islamic crescent moon on its door « because their mouse holes were scattered throughout the planet »9, when Bush’s post-9/11 depictions of the terrorists get materialized in the most obvious way. Additionally, the comic’s depiction of some female mice wearing buckets over their heads while one angry mouse beats one of these female mice with a bat10 echoes Laura Bush’s appropriation of feminist discourses to justify the War in Afghanistan as when she remarked on a radio address to the nation on November 17, 2001 that « the brutal oppression of women is a central goal of the terrorists »11. Finally, after the evil mice set fire to the elephant’s cathedral, « the fury and the power of an awakened rampaging vengeance seeking elephant » is eventually portrayed12. The comic’s description of how « once the hiding places had been discovered, the raging elephant thundered to the scene, stomping mightily on each hole with all his unimaginable strength and power, trapping and crushing the deadly mice within… [until] the evil mice had been eliminated »13 does not but encourage support for the US military forces in Afghanistan to exercise the highest brutality in their mission.

  • 14  Jasbir K. Puar and Amit S. Rai, « Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production (...)

11On October 3, 2001, the popular NBC’s TV series The West Wing opened its third season with an especial episode inspired on the 9/11 attacks. « Isaac and Ishmael », written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Chris Misiano, was aired not a month since 9/11, and four days before the Operation Enduring Freedom started the War in Afghanistan with a US-led aerial bombing campaign that almost immediately prompted international concerns over the number of Afghan civilians killed. In such a critical moment, it was the television medium that had firstly created the 9/11 official discourse, the same that now produced the first mainstream 9/11 fictional work that indoctrinated the American audience on international terrorism and the war that was approaching. The plot of « Isaac and Ishmael » takes place in two very differentiated settings: on the one hand, a guided group of children who is visiting the White House cannot leave it for a few hours because of a terrorist threat, occasion which allows many Presidential staff members including the fictional President and First Lady to drop by and display their vision of terrorism to the schoolchildren, and by extension, to an infantilized audience; on the other hand, an Arab-American who works for the White House is pointed as a suspect of terrorist activities, and after being interrogated, racially-profiled and insulted by white men, he turns out to be innocent. After receiving a lame apology for the racist remarks, he is rewarded to go back to work for the government that has just humiliated him. As Jasbir K. Puar and Amit S. Rai underline in « Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots », this « double-framed reality » is directed towards the production of « normalized and docile patriots »: while the school children and the audience are taught « why War means Peace in Afghanistan », Arab-American spectators are warned that the best way to avoid being confused with terrorists just due to the color of their skin consists in making themselves the vivid image of American patriotism14.

  • 15  Alan M. Dershowitz, « In Love with Death », Guardian, June 4, 2004.
  • 16 Ian Buruma and Vishai Margalit, « Occidentalism », New York Review of Books, January 17, 2002.
  • 17  Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism, New York, Verso, 2002, p. 15, 20.

12Another element that became very frequent in the post-9/11 public official discourse was the identification of Islam as a religion of hate and intrinsically linked to the concept of death. This singular equation was advocated by the media, as when the Guardian put the prosecution’s case against Muslim suicide bombers wondering « Why do these overprivileged young people support this culture of death...? The time has come to address the real root cause of suicide bombing: religious and political leaders who are creating a culture of death »15; or when the New York Times remarked that « when contempt for bourgeois creature comforts becomes contempt for life itself you know the West is under attack »16. The academic world was not either exempt of enacting this in vogue relation of Islam to the idea of death, as when Jean Baudrillard, in his analysis of 9/11 titled The Spirit of Terrorism assured that, after World War II, « Evil regained an invisible autonomy », and it henceforward « developed exponentially… and a ghostly enemy emerged, infiltrating itself throughout the whole planet, slipping in everywhere like a virus, welling up from all the interstices of power: Islam… Terrorism, like viruses, is everywhere »17.

  • 18  John Updike, Terrorist, New York, Knopf, 2006, p. 3.

13This inclination to identify Islam with the idea of death, and respectively the West with life was also very present among US 9/11 popular fictions, finding its most reputed representative in John Updike’s novel Terrorist (2006). It tells the story of an eighteen-year-old New Jersey Muslim boy who, in constant inner struggle between his faith on the one hand, and the rest of his American life on the other – represented by his love for a classmate, his studies, and his job as a truck driver – gets recruited by an imam into a terrorist plot to bomb Lincoln Tunnel. If the novel opens with the protagonist’s critics to his infidel classmates and teachers who are identified as « devils [that] seek to take away my [his] God »18 , it ends up with the protagonist renouncing both the attack’s implementation and his monolithically portrayed faith thanks to his eventual and elated contemplation of how beautiful life is in the United States. The novel’s stereotyped – stereotyping – and racially biased portrait is not limited to the problematic Arab protagonist, as his best friends in the novel are an oversexed African American female teenager and their embittered but noble Jewish teacher. Moreover, the novel’s final rejection of Islam as a whole due to its intrinsically alleged link to the practice of terrorism, confirms how the accustomed authoritative US literary voices are not the most objective locus to turn to in search for some racially unprejudiced representation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their possible causes.  

Victimizing and Heroizing Discourses

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices. Secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers. Moms and dads. Friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror…These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong… We responded with the best of America… [emphasis added].

– President George W. Bush, « Address to the Nation on the Terrorist Attacks », Washington, September 11, 2001.

14Besides the already addressed « evil » quintessential nature that is attributed to those responsible for the terrorist attacks, there are two other recurrent motifs within President Bush’s post-9/11 public discourses that require further analysis: the first consists in maximizing the appeal to pity when referring to the victims, for example, when Bush substitutes the terms « mothers and fathers » by the much more moving « moms and dads »; the second is expressed by an emphatic adherence to stories of survival, rescue, and recovery, in which their protagonists’ heroic deeds elevate the moralizing status of the speaker’s discourse. Both rhetorical arguments – argumentum ad misericordiam and argumentum ad verecundiam – result dangerously generalized within President Bush’s public speeches, in which personal and individual stories are abused and extended to the level of the nation state, adopting the form of « our country is innocent, our country is strong ».

15Coincidentally – or not –, these two argumentative strategies are by large the most frequent within the fictional works which, inspired by the 9/11 attacks, were produced in the United States. Both discursive modes usually appear intertwined to each other in a myriad of stories, starred by 9/11 victims, their mourning families and friends, survivors to the attacks, New York citizens, firemen, cops…, narratives which can be grouped into three sets of argumentative plots: loss and recovery, traumatic survival and heroic rescue. As these stories constitute the vast majority within the corpus of US 9/11 fiction, the already mentioned appeals to pity and courage predominate as the principal forms employed in the United States to rewrite the historic event of the 9/11 attacks through fiction. The degree to which these particular stories serve as a vehicle to grandiloquent, imperialistic and patriotic discourses à la Bush varies by each author.

  • 19  Wheeler Winston Dixon (ed.), Film and Television after 9/11, Southern Illinois University, Carbond (...)

16Regarding the first set of narratives that explore the emotional themes of loss and recovery, it is mostly constituted by works oriented towards « consumption », and in very few cases towards « reflection ». As Wheeler Winston Dixon remarks in Film and Television after 9/11, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were « commodified and repackaged, cheapened by commemorative plates or hastily assembled memorial videos… there was at least sixty memorial programs on television during the week of September 11, 2002, alone, all shown on national broadcast and cable television channels »19. This mode of creation based upon overproduction was also undertaken by writers like Karen Kingsbury, who in the lapse of three years wrote two novels about a fictional 9/11-firefighter’s widow – One Tuesday Morning (2003) and Beyond Tuesday Morning (2005) –, and an entire series of five novels recreating how the events of 9/11 affected the American Christian family of the Baxters – Redemption (2002), Remember (2003), Rejoice (2003), Return (2004), and Reunion (2004) –. This entire Kingsbury’s production of 9/11 « Harlequin » novels, openly very patriotic as the American flag is depicted on the cover of most editions, does not actually encourage reflection on the 9/11 events but serves as propaganda of explicit Christian themes while inciting to emotional rather than rational responses to these events.

17Within this category of 9/11 narratives about loss, mourning, and recovery, there are numerous novels: Joyce Maynard’s The Usual Rules (2003), which tells the story of a girl who loses her mother on 9/11; Bridget Marks’s September: a Novel (2004), this time it is a mother who loses her son on the attacks; S. J. Rozan’s Absent Friends (2004), now being the childhood friends of a fire-fighter those who suffer his loss; and the list goes on. The plot of most of these narratives can easily be structured into two sections: the first, characterized by loss and grief, in which it is portrayed the innate innocence of the victim, and the devastating effects of that loss on his/her loved ones, whose suffering gives testimony of their intrinsically good nature – being this part dominated by the appeal to pity –; subsequently, it is introduced the recovery section, in which the brave and strong qualities of the loved ones are depicted in their step-by-step process of working through loss – being now the protagonists’ courage and strength the features extolled in these stories –. The dangers concerning these 9/11 fictions reside in the focus adopted by each creator when presenting their narratives, either as particular, incidental stories or as exemplary, representative, and totalizing ones. In most of the cases, the « we are innocent and good-hearted » discourse is turned into the patriotic « our country is innocent and our system is good », generating lines of thought like « If we are so good, Why do they hate us? » or « As we are so good, we – our system, our culture, our nation – deserve prevail ». Similarly, the emphasis on the strength and courage of those loved ones who learn to overcome their sorrow, when generalized to the level of the state, leads to statements like President Bush’s « our country is strong », in which the idea of « prevailing » over others is presented, not as a deserved victory but as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Both positions, « we deserve prevail » and « we will prevail », are actually not very far in essence from the « it is our manifest destiny » rhetoric argued in the 19th century by the United States government to justify its expansion across the North American continent and the war with Mexico by presenting this expansion as something obvious – manifest –and assigned by fate.

18Within this group of 9/11 loss and recovery narratives, there are two works that reached the top in sales and spectators, respectively, while also received the praise from the critics: Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005) and Mike Binder’s film Reign Over Me (2007). Although the plot of the former is not very different from other 9/11 narratives – it tells the story of a nine-year-old boy who loses his father in the 9/11 attacks –, the approach is really innovative, as Safran Foer employs visual elements like type settings, spaces, pictures, drawings and even blank pages to challenge the limitations of the prose narrative in a typically postmodernist manner. However, this entire visual universe that confers so much originality to the novel is oriented to reinforce the same « pity » discourse argued by the novel’s plain prose, as the author’s principal strategy consists in exploiting in different ways the readers’ compassion towards the talented orphan protagonist. Moreover, when the child describes his post-9/11 fears, his racial prejudices come to the surface:

  • 20  Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, New York, Houghton Mifflin, 2005, p. 36 (...)

There was a lot of stuff that made me panicky, like suspension bridges, germs, airplanes, fireworks, Arab people on the subway (even though I’m not racist), Arab people in restaurants and coffee shops and other public places, scaffolding, sewers and subway grates, bags without owners, shoes, people with mustaches, smoke, knots, tall buildings, turbans.20

19The boy’s panic to, not only Arabs in public places, but mustaches and turbans, makes of the text a vehicle for justifying the practice of racial – rather facial – profiling disguised as innocent humor.

20Mike Binder’s film Reign Over Me (2007) tells the story of a man who, after losing his wife and daughters in the 9/11 attacks, gets back in touch by chance with his old college room-mate. Although the film’s argumentative emphasis is principally placed on the mutual benefits of this unexpected reemerging friendship – the film’s subheading is precisely « Let in the unexpected » –, it also and extensively portrays the devastating effects of 9/11 on the mental and emotional balance of the widower protagonist, who avoids confronting the loss of his family and can’t even talk about it. The movie climax occurs, not unexpectedly at all, when the widower is finally able to talk about his loss, starts his recovery, and the movie happily ends with him and a girl he fancies eating some pizza in his new apartment. The movie’s closure does not but emphasize how the American way of life seem always to be restored, and eventually prevails.  

21Both Safran Foer’s and Binder’s narratives constitute concrete examples of what Judith Butler denounced in « Violence, Mourning, Politics », when she assured that

  • 21  Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, New York, Verso, 2004, p. xiv (...)

Certain forms of grief become nationally recognized and amplified, whereas other loses become unthinkable and ungrievable… a national melancholia, understood as a disavowed mourning, follows upon the erasure from public representations of the names, images, and narratives of those the US has killed… The US’s own loses are consecrated in public obituaries that constitute so many acts of nation-building. Some lives are grievable, and other are not; the differential allocation of grievability that decides what kind of subject is and must be grieved, and which kind of subject must not, operates to produce and maintain certain exclusionary conception of who is normatively human.21

22The second significant group of 9/11 works also ruled by victimizing and heroizing mechanisms is formed by narratives whose plots are focused on portraying the traumatic effects of 9/11 on those who survived the attacks. The academic approach to trauma, a tendency now so in vogue, originated in the context of research about the Holocaust. Virtually the entire current existing analysis of trauma is either purely theoretical and abstract, or linked to Freud’s studies on the traumatic experience, or exemplified by and centred on the Holocaust. A combination of these three trends which results very inspiring, is Dominick LaCapra’s Writing History, Writing Trauma (2001), in which the author describes the concept of historical trauma and some dangers intrinsically linked to it:

  • 22  Dominick Lacapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 2001, (...)

The basic point [is] that historical trauma is related to particular events… such as the Shoah or the dropping of the atom bomb on Japanese cities. The strong temptation with respect to such limit events is to collapse the distinction and to arrive at a conception of the event’s absolute uniqueness or even epiphanous, sublime or sacral quality… the founding trauma typically plays a tendentious ideological role, for example, in terms of the concept of a chosen people or a believe in one’s privileged status as a victim…The indiscriminate generalization of the category of survivor and the over-all conflation of history or culture with trauma, as well as the near fixation on enacting or acting out post-traumatic symptoms, have the effect of obscuring crucial historical distinctions.22

23Indeed, regarding how the representation of the concepts of survival  and trauma has been undertaken by 9/11 fictional narratives, the same strategies already mentioned of appealing to pity – this time in the form of « lost innocence » – and courage that operated in  « loss and recovery » stories are also predominant within these « traumatic survival » ones. Most pieces inside this category invest their protagonists with an initial pre-9/11 candidness that is substituted throughout each narrative by significant signs of courage and determination. Once again, if generalized, both depictions of that former – and attributed – innocence and its subsequent courage can easily be turned into the patriotic mottos « we were good and innocent, we are strong ».

  • 23  Joyce Carol Oates, « The Mutants », I am no one you know: Stories, New York, HarperCollins, 2004, (...)

24Within this selection of 9/11 narratives starred by traumatic survivors, there are two works by two 20th century American canonical authors which result in a certain sense disappointing when considering both authors’ stimulating literary careers. I am referring to Joyce Carol Oates and Don DeLillo. Oates’s short story « The Mutants » (2004) portrays how a beautiful Midwestern blonde young woman, with an auspicious professional career in New York as a children’s book editor, and bride-to-be with her beloved and equally successful fiancé, ages twenty years on September 11, 2001 and becomes a « mutant being, primed to survive » while waiting in dark for several hours in her lower Manhattan apartment for her fiancé to come back. The protagonist is initially – and stereotypically – described as a blonde American goddess « with her dreamy golden aura as lightly borne as a cloak of Athena », whose inherent innocence is forwarded by the fact that « she carried it unaware, believing that the myriad daily glances of admiration she encountered in the city… and certainly the intense good fortune of her professional and personal life, were part of a general bounty shared by all, like the warm autumn air »23. Such idyllic pre-9/11 portrait is deliberately carried out to emphasize her traumatic transformation after the attacks into an animal in panic « hollowed eyed and gaunt yet wakeful, no longer the dreamy-eyed blonde », who eventually lights some candles, and while arranging them on the windowsills of all her windows, sees other candle lights in the windows of adjacent buildings « glimmering like distant stars… brave and festive in the dark ». Oates’s hopeful closure with these « brave » candles does nothing but make her short story of pre-9/11 innocence turned into post-9/11 courage a representative example of how fiction can reproduce in detail the national ideology cast by the media while shaping how the traumatic event is and must be perceived.

  • 24  Mieke Bal, Narratalogy: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, Second Edition, Toronto, Universi (...)
  • 25  Michiko Kakutani, « A Man, a Woman, and a Day of Terror », Books of the Times, New York Times, May (...)

25Much more complex in structure is Don DeLillo’s 9/11 novel Falling Man (2007), starred by a recently separated man who, after escaping from the World Trade Center, makes up with his wife while he starts an affair with another woman who also survived the attacks. Missing two of his weekly-poker-game friends who died in the attacks, and not being able to work through his post-traumatic disorder, the protagonist ends up leaving his family behind and going to Las Vegas to play poker indefinitely. Besides the author’s resistance to provide a happy, easy and « artificial » closure to his protagonist’s traumatic disorder, not à la Oates with her « brave candles », one of the principal assets of Falling Man is DeLillo’s innovative treatment of the temporal and spatial dimensions. It reaches its climax when towards the end of the novel, when the crash of the planes against the WTC is narrated in free indirect style, the figure of the narrator changes in the same paragraph from « he », the terrorist aboard the plane a few seconds before the crash to « he », the survivor in his office at the WTC immediately after the explosion. However, in spite of this stylish change of focalizors – focalizor understood as the agent whose point of view orients the narrative, as described by Mieke Bal in Narratology24 –, Falling Man pales in contrast with former DeLillo’s approaches to political violence through fiction. While Libra (1988) revisited the intricacies of the assassination of Kennedy and acted indeed as a counternarrative to the official discourse dictated by the Warren Commission, Falling Man does not but over-dramatize the more serene reflection portrayed in the 9/11 Commission Report. As the New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani stated in her review of DeLillo’s Falling Man, « Instead of capturing the impact of 9/11 on the country or New York or a spectrum of survivors or even a couple of interesting individuals », DeLillo leaves us with the image of « a self-absorbed man, who came through the fire and ash of that day and decided to spend his foreseeable future playing stupid card games in the Nevada desert »25.

26Finally, the third body of narratives in which victimizing and heroizing strategies underlie as principal operating techniques is constituted by those 9/11 fictions focused on portraying heroic deeds mostly performed by white male officers. Concerning to what extent the figure of the 9/11 white male hero was deliberately created, Stefano Harney remarked in the 9/11 special issue of Social Text how

  • 26  Stefano Harney, « Fragments on Kropotkin and Giuliani », 911–A Public Emergency?, Social Text, No (...)

The people’s rescue brigades that formed spontaneously after the collapse of the two towers gave way reluctantly, and in some cases under state force, to the binary of victims and heroes. The mobile subjectivities on the missing posters that adorned statues in Union Square were appropriately scraped away by Work Experience Program workers in an early-morning October downpour. Heroes replaced these brigades and posters in the public view, and the heroes were the Fire Department of New York Officers [94% white males], New York Police Department Officers [Out of hundreds of uniformed service workers killed in the WTC attack, only twenty-three were African American] and soon United States Special Forces and Central Intelligence agents… Terror reduced the victims to heroes, and the heroes to white men, relegating all others – the living to future victims and suspects, and the dead to serial newspapers obituaries.26

  • 27  Paul Chadwick, « Sacrifice », 9-11: September 11, 2001. Artists Respond. Volume One, Mike Richarso (...)
  • 28  Paul Greengrass, United 93, Universal, 2006.

27Regarding how the 9/11 victims were immediately labeled as heroes in the public sphere, one just needs to take a look at the Ground Zero commemorative plate, which reads « To the Heroes of 9/11 » and contains the list of names of all the people – except the terrorists – who died in the attacks. Among all the 9/11 victims, those whose story has been more frequently re-created by fiction are the passengers and crew of the flight United 93, who are precisely those who rebelled against the terrorists and whose heroism could be more appropriately – and commercially – extolled. Paul Chadwick’s comic « Sacrifice » (2002), Peter Markle’s FOX TV Film Flight 93 (2006), and Paul Greengrass’s film United 93 (2006) are among the most popular narratives within this group, having the last one been nominated for two Oscars including the category of best director in 2007. It is very interesting to observe how the heroizing strategies adopted by these three 9/11 « aerial » works, which supposedly narrate the same events aboard the same plane, differ so much to one another: in « Sacrifice », the emphasis is placed on the « sacrifice » that the passengers and crew made as, according to the comic, they revolted against the terrorist not to save their own lives, but to save the lives of those inside the building targeted by the plane. The comic also introduces the passengers by referring to some of their « apparently » courageous features like « Beamer, a former football player », « Glick, the judo champion », or the most surreal « Bingham… who recently ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain »27; the FOX TV film Flight 93, on the contrary, appeals directly to pity the victims by focusing on the concept of  « family », well offering long shots of the passengers’ children, portraying a female passenger reading a book about pregnancy, or showing how the passenger’s relatives encouraged them to rebel against the terrorists; finally, United 93, while paying tribute to the passengers and crew’s  heroism, also focuses on exonerating both the Air Traffic Control Centers and the US military forces – additional protagonists of the film – of any responsibility concerning the plane’s crash. The film’s final note on the screen attempts to leave no doubt on this respect: « Military commanders were not notified that United 93 had been hijacked until four minutes after it had crashed. The nearest fighter jets were 100 miles away »28.

  • 29  Patricia Leigh Brown, « Heavy Lifting Required: The Return of Manly Men », New York Times, October (...)
  • 30  Zillah Eisenstein, « Feminism in the Aftermath of September 11 », 911–A Public Emergency?, Social (...)
  • 31  Emily S. Rosenberg, « Rescuing Women and Children », History and September 11th, Joanne Meyerowitz (...)

28The efforts by the United States’ Ideological State Apparatuses in the Althusserian sense – the media, the government… – to impose the image of a « strong nation » brought with it a regressive restoration of a traditional, male chauvinistic paradigm in the public discourse. At home, the new heroism extolled the American male – and white – worker, be he a firefighter or a policeman, while there was little mention of women firefighters or heroic women in general. The New York Times sentenced: « The operative word is men: brawny, heroic, manly men. The male hero expresses the new selflessness of masculinism. Physical prowess is back in vogue along with patriotism »29. As Zillah Eisenstein denounced in « Feminism in the Aftermath of September 11 », « Women, who are busy trying to rebuild the lives of their families while they scramble to get to their jobs as well, are shunted to the side – seen only through the veil of motherhood and wifely duty »30. Abroad, US foreign policies reproduced the trope of rescuing women and children, which, as Emily S. Rosenberg posits, emerges « from a social imaginary dominated by a masculinized nation state that casts itself in a paternal role, saving those who are abused by rival men and nations »31.

  • 32  Alessandra Stanley, « Once Again, the Tragedy You Can’t Avoid », New York Times, August 11, 2006.

29A good example of how 9/11 fiction replicated this We-are-a-nation-of-male-heroes pattern and helped to its overspread is Oliver Stone’s film World Trade Center (2006), which recreates the story of two Port Authority police officers trapped in the rubble of the towers and the desperation of their wives and children until they were eventually rescued by a former marine who was volunteering. It could be no one but Oliver Stone, the official re-teller of American History through popular yet ideologically questionable films, to direct this movie which, in regards to its reflection on the 9/11 events, it could perfectly have been about « trapped West Virginia miners or mountain climbers buried under an avalanche » as a New York Times critic remarked32. Indeed, Stone not only reproduces the stereotype of brave active men and awaiting passive women, but he also translates victimhood into a patriotic cry for war – the last image being an immense American flag – while encouraging military volunteerism.

« Hystoerical » Descontextualizations

What happened at Pearl Harbor was the start of a long and terrible war for America.Yet, out of that surprise attack grew a steadfast resolve that made America freedom's defender.  And that mission – our great calling – continues to this hour, as the brave men and women of our military fight the forces of terror in Afghanistan and around the world…The terrorists are the heirs to fascism.

– President George W. Bush, « Remarks on the USS Enterprise Naval Station on Pearl Harbor Day », Norfolk, December 7, 2001.

  • 33  Michel Foucault, « Il faut défendre la société»: Cours au Collège de France. 1976, Mauro Bertanni (...)

30In the lecture series titled « Il faut défendre la société » given at the Collège de France during the course 1975-76, Michel Foucault already warned against the dangers of what he called le discours historico-politique: a type of discourse that employs historical arguments to support pre-determined political goals33. It was indeed while contextualizing the events of September 11, 2001 into history when some of the most dangerous and warmongering affirmations were uttered by political leaders and media agitators. Firstly, the catching term « nine eleven » imposed itself triumphantly provoking such obsession with the temporal identifier that everything before or after this day seemed to lose importance. Where-were-you-on-9/11-? was « the » story, and acontextualized single-day histories monopolized mainstream attention while preventing reflection upon the possible causes and consequences of the events of that day. Secondly, while describing the global situation after the attacks, another historical acontextualization was to follow: the hyperbolic everything has changed. This grandiloquent generalization both in time and space reveals an ignorant and self-centred conception of history and the world affairs which does nothing but proclaim the American exceptionalism among the rest of nations. Moreover, such conceptualization of the « exceptional » circumstances of the 9/11 terrorist attacks served as a vehicle to justify certain « special » detentions, « special » foreign policies, and even « special » torture methods in detention camps that were dictated and exercised by the government of the United States. Thirdly, not few held themselves back for relating the events of 9/11 to other historical episodes. However, instead of references to former United States military actions in the Middle East, the most frequent comparisons were with tragedies such as the attack to Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam War and even the Holocaust. These dramatic comparisons of the events of September 11, 2001 with such former massacres and genocides recast the United States as the new victim to be supported in the international scenery, and promoted military actions based upon hysterical rather than historical appreciations.

31Coincidentally – or not –, these three referred historical misinterpretations of the 9/11 events, that is, the acontextualized single-day stories, the histrionic everything-has-changed narratives, and the victimizing and descontextualized comparisons of the attacks of September 11, 2001 with other historical massacres, were the most commonly reproduced and advocated by those 9/11 fictional works that attempted to approach the event from a historical perspective.  

  • 34  Art Spiegelman, In the Shadow of No Towers, New York, Pantheon Books, 2004, p. 4.
  • 35  Ibid, p. 1.

32Art Spiegelman’s comic In the Shadow of No Towers (2006), in spite of being very critical with how the United States government dealt with the 9/11 attacks, fell into some of these ahistorical descontextualizations described above. Among different panels related to each other by the connecting thread of 9/11, the most extensive one narrates Spiegelman and his wife’s desperate search for their daughter the very morning of 9/11. Spiegelman, who received the Pulitzer Award in 1992 for his animalistic representation in Mouse of how his father survived the Holocaust, could not help making explicit references to this genocide in his 9/11 comic, as when he portrays himself expressing his affection for New York city by remarking « I finally understand why some Jews didn’t leave Berlin right after the Kristallnacht! »34. Spiegelman’s occasional representation of some New Yorkers included himself as mice in In the Shadow of No Towers establishes direct links with his former work and the genocide it narrated, magnifying in this way the scope of the 9/11 attacks as when he accompanies a drawing of the World Trade Center in flames with the text: « In our last episode, as you might remember, the world ended… »35.

  • 36  « The War Against America: an Unfathomable Attack », editorial, New York Times, September 12, 2001
  • 37  Joanne Meyerowitz (ed.), History and September 11th, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 2003, (...)

33 It was the American media the first in making exaggerated statements when placing the events of 9/11 in historical context. For example, a New York Times editorial on September 12, 2001 described the attacks as « one of those moments in which history splits, and we define the world as before and after »36. As Joanne Meyerowitz remarks in History and September 11th, « history never rips in two. Before and after are never entirely severed, even in the moments of greatest historical rupture. The discontinuities of the past always remain within the whole cloth of the longue durée »37. Nevertheless, such conception of history as divided into before and after 9/11 permeated the corpus of 9/11 fiction. Paul Auster’s novel The Brooklyn Follies (2005) is not a 9/11 work per se, as 9/11 does not appear in it neither mentioned nor allegorically. However, Auster added a posteriori an epilogue titled « X marks the spot » which appears in most editions and in which the eventually elated protagonist steps out onto the street to go to work at eight o’clock on the concrete morning of September 11, 2001,

  • 38  Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies, New York, Holt, 2005, p. 320.

Just forty-six minutes before the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Just two hours after that, the smoke of three thousand incinerated bodies would drift over toward Brooklyn and come pouring down on us in a white cloud of ashes and death. But for now it was still eight o’clock and as I walked along the avenue under that brilliant sky, I was happy, my friends, as happy as any man who had ever lived.38

34The novel’s initial happy ending is obscured in this ominous way by the horror that is approaching. Auster’s manicheist description of an idyllic pre-9/11 world with brilliant skies and perfect happiness, and how it changed « in just two hours » into a post-9/11 nightmare of « incinerated bodies » and white clouds of « ashes and death » constitutes an example of how fiction both echoed and helped to spread the acontextualized « everything has changed » discourse.

  • 39  David Simpson, « Telling It Like It Isn’t », Literature After 9/11, Ann Keniston and Jeanne Follan (...)
  • 40  Claire Messud, The Emperor’s Children, New York, Knopf, 2006, p. 386, 388, 391.
  • 41 Ibid, p. 386.
  • 42 Ibid, p. 373.

35Another example of a fictional work conveying this reductionist tendency to split the world’s history in two as a consequence of the 9/11 attacks is Claire Messud’s novel The Emperor’s Children (2006). It is definitively one of the most superficial approaches to the 9/11 events that has been made, yet it reached the top of the best-seller list in the US in 2006. David Simpson could not have titled better his essay on Updike’s and Messud’s 9/11 novels in Literature After 9/11: « Telling It Like It Isn’t »39. The Emperor’s Children is a Manhattan « society » novel that focuses on how the 9/11 attacks did not actually affect the lives of a privileged Upper West Side family. This aspiring social satire is filled with melodramatic and grandiloquent statements about 9/11 by most of its distinguished yet uninspired characters, especially when comparing the « world’s » situation before and after the attacks: « It’s a difficult time… Good luck. We all need it these days… That’s how life is. It’s how it was. I don’t know how anything is anymore… we don’t know how it will turn out… The end of the world. A sign from God »40. The novel reaches indeed its climax of frivolity when the female protagonist comments to her college friend: « Do you realize that, when I put this Kleenex in my pocket, the world was a completely different place? »41 Besides such display of deep historical reflection, one is not caught unaware when another character compares the 9/11 survivors she observes from her apartment’s window with a Vietnam War photo: « She stood at the window… there were still dust-covered, bewildered people… like refugees of war, she thought, remembering the famous Vietnam photograph, the little naked girl fleeing the napalm »42. This passage of the « window » is actually representative of the entire novel, in which 9/11 is just a far landscape at the back, and the really bad things happen outside and to others.

36Finally, there are two 9/11 comics that also made explicit emphasis on comparing the 9/11 events with other historical episodes: Beau Smith’s « Soldiers » (2002) and Sam Glanzman’s « There Were Tears in Her Eyes » (2002). The former portrays how a unit of United States « male » soldiers help male cops and firemen in the rescue of a woman and a little girl at Ground Zero. After the successful rescue, and a panel in which an enormous American flag flutters behind the new heroes, the text reads:

  • 43  Beau Smith, « Soldiers », 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories to R (...)

On that day we were all soldiers. 9-11-01. But in the days to come this country will call for a different kind of soldier. One who is trained to take the war to those that have attacked our own shores. That call has come. The war of my grandfather was like that of hunting bear. It stood tall and challenged you to face it. There was a certain sense of honor in that. But this is not my grandfather’s war. This is a war of rats. There’s only one way to hunt rats that bite and then scurry off into dark holes. You send rat terriers into those holes after them. And they don’t come out until all the rats are dead. We are those rat terriers. We’re soldiers.43

37Besides displaying a manifest cry for war « in the days to come », the comic employs an animalistic extended metaphor which compares à la Bush the Nazis with the 9/11 terrorists in the benefit of the former. If WWII is described as « bear hunting » and the Nazis as a challenger bear « that stood tall » and whose capture provided a « certain sense of honor », Bush’s post-9/11 depictions of the terrorists « hiding in holes » are echoed here as the terrorists are literally referred to as « rats that bite and then scurry into dark holes » – dark motives, dark skin, the uncivilized dark ages in which other countries live… –. Finally, the identification of the US soldiers with « rat terriers…you send into those holes » – very opportune this « you » addressing the reader as it is the reader’s support for military action what the comic actually intends – encourages a total extermination or the indefinite perpetuation of the armed conflict – that today, almost ten years after, still persists – as « the terriers don’t come until all the rats are dead ».

  • 44  Sam Glanzman, « There Were Tears In Her Eyes », 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Art (...)

38The last fictional 9/11 piece that will be addressed here is, as I said before, Sam Glanzman’s comic « There Were Tears in Her Eyes ».  It seems a good choice to give a closure to this article with this work as it actually contains demonizations, victimizations, and outrageous historical contextualizations all in regards to the 9/11 attacks. The comic portrays a grandfather answering his grandson’s questions about 9/11 while they go for a walk outside their country house two days after the attacks. To the child’s question of « what kind of people do these things? », the old man does not hesitate in comparing the terrorists with 15th century Romanian Prince Vlad the Impaler, a figure in which the legend of Dracula was inspired due to the Prince’s alleged blood thirst. The grandfather describes then to the child some of the Prince’s appetites, and while remarking that « Dracul also means Devil », the comic depicts some men impaled and a face portrait of the almond-eyed Prince Vlad whose prominent nose, turban, long black hair and moustache turn him into the vivid image of Osama Bin Laden. After this demonizing characterization so out of context, the child asks his grandfather whether there will be a war like he was in. Then, the old man recalls « his » war while the comic portrays explicit images of WWII like a pile of corpses in Auschwitz. The grandfather utters: « By waiting, did we allow this? Yes, allowed. By refusing to act early enough…It could have been prevented. Hitler and his butchers could have been stopped had we and other law-abiding nations acted earlier ». The comic closes with a drawing of the Statue of Liberty crying with the Twin Towers in flames at the back while the text reads: « Will we wait? Until it’s too late? »44

39When manifest cries for war which abuse of historical discourses are displayed in the news or by political leaders is opprobrious. When it is the national mainstream fiction who exercises such task, it is outrageous, because ideology is most dangerous when invisible. As Raymond Federman posited in Critifiction:

  • 45  Raymond Federmand, Critifiction: Postmodern Essays, Albany, State University of New York Press, 19 (...)

If the content of history can be manipulated by the mass media, if television and newspapers can falsify or justify historical facts, then the unequivocal relation between the real and the imaginary disappears … Consequently, history must be doubted, reviewed, reexamined, especially recent events as presented, or rather as RE-presented to us by the mass-media and by fiction.45

9/11 Fictional Works Addressed

40Auster, Paul. « X Marks the Spot ». Epilogue to The Brooklyn Follies. New York. Faber. 2005. Novel.

41Binder, Mike (dir.). Reign over Me. Columbia. 2007. Film.

42Chadwick, Paul. « Sacrifice ». 9-11: September 11, 2001. Artists Respond. Vol. 1. Mike Richarson (ed.). Milwaukie. Dark Horse, Chaos! and Image. 2002. p. 15-18. Comic.

43DeLillo, Don. Falling Man. New York. Scribner. 2007. Novel.

44Glanzman, Sam. « There Were Tears in Her Eyes ». 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories to Remember. Vol. 2. Jennete Khan (ed.). New York. DC Comics. 2002. p. 207-210. Comic.

45Greengrass, Paul (dir.). United 93. Universal. 2006. Film.

46Kingsbury, Karen. One Tuesday Morning (2003) and Beyond Tuesday Morning (2005). Grand Rapids. Zondervan. Novels.

47Kingsbury, Karen, and Gary Smalley. Redemption (2002), Remember (2003), Return (2003), Rejoice (2004), and Reunion (2004). Redemption Series. Wheaton. Tyndale. Novels.

48Lee, Stan. « The Sleeping Giant ». 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories to Remember. Vol. 2. Jennete Khan (ed.). New York. DC. Comics. 2002. p. 177-180. Comic.

49Marks, Bridget. September. Los Angeles. Volt. 2004. Novel.

50Maynard, Joyce. The Usual Rules. New York. St. Martin’s. 2003. Novel.

51Messud, Claire. The Emperor’s Children. New York. Knopf. 2006. Novel.

52Oates, Joyce Carol. « The Mutants ». I Am No One You Know. New York. Ecco. 2004. p. 281-287. Short Story.

53Rozan, S.J. Absent Friends. New York. Delacorte. 2004. Novel.

54Safran Foer, Jonathan. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. New York. Houghton Miffin. 2005. Novel.  

55Schreiner, Nevin (writ.) and Peter Markle (dir.). Flight 93. FOX. Aired on January 30, 2006. TV Film.

56Smith, Beau. « Soldiers ». 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories to Remember. Vol. 2. Jennete Khan (ed.). New York. DC. Comics. 2002. p. 89-94. Comic.

57Sorkin, Aaron (writ.), and Chris Mesiano (dir.). « Isaac and Ishmael ». The West Wing. NBC. Aired on October 3, 2001. TV episode.

58Spiegelman, Art. In the Shadow of No Towers. New York. Pantheon. 2004. Comic.

59Stone, Oliver (dir.). World Trade Center. Paramount. 2006. Film.

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Notes

1  George W. Bush, « Address to the Nation on the Terrorist Attacks », September 11, 2001, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush, 2001, Washington, Government Printing Office, 2001, 2:1099-1100.

2 Nick Sullivan and Karen Robinson (ed.), September 11th Crisis Response Guide, Human Rights Education Program, New York, Amnesty International USA, 2001, p. 11.  

3 Daniel J. Sherman and Terry Nardin (ed.), Terror, Culture, Politics: Rethinking 9/11, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2006, p. 5.

4  George W. Bush, « Remarks at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, on the Terrorist Attacks » September 11, 2001, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush, 2001, Washington, Government Printing Office, 2001, 2:1098.

5  Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, New York, Verso, 2004, p. xviii.

6  Jonathan Markovitz, « Reel Terror Post 9/11 », Film and Television After 9/11, Wheeler Winston Dixon (ed.), Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 2004, p. 202.

7  Stan Lee, « The Sleeping Giant », 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories to Remember, Vol. 2, Jennete Khan (ed.), New York, DC Comics, 2002, p. 177.

8 Ibid, p. 178.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11  Laura Bush, « Radio Address to the Nation », November 17, 2001, <http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/11/20011117.html>, (March 30, 2010).

12  Stan Lee, « The Sleeping Giant », p. 180.

13 Ibid.

14  Jasbir K. Puar and Amit S. Rai, « Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots », 911–A Public Emergency?, Social Text, No 72, Fall 2002, p. 134-135.

15  Alan M. Dershowitz, « In Love with Death », Guardian, June 4, 2004.

16 Ian Buruma and Vishai Margalit, « Occidentalism », New York Review of Books, January 17, 2002.

17  Jean Baudrillard, The Spirit of Terrorism, New York, Verso, 2002, p. 15, 20.

18  John Updike, Terrorist, New York, Knopf, 2006, p. 3.

19  Wheeler Winston Dixon (ed.), Film and Television after 9/11, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 2004, p. 4.

20  Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, New York, Houghton Mifflin, 2005, p. 36.

21  Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, New York, Verso, 2004, p. xiv.

22  Dominick Lacapra, Writing History, Writing Trauma, Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press, 2001, p. xi, 80-81.

23  Joyce Carol Oates, « The Mutants », I am no one you know: Stories, New York, HarperCollins, 2004, p. 281-87.

24  Mieke Bal, Narratalogy: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, Second Edition, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1997, p. 146-149.

25  Michiko Kakutani, « A Man, a Woman, and a Day of Terror », Books of the Times, New York Times, May 9, 2007.

26  Stefano Harney, « Fragments on Kropotkin and Giuliani », 911–A Public Emergency?, Social Text, No 72, Fall 2002, p. 14, 16-17.

27  Paul Chadwick, « Sacrifice », 9-11: September 11, 2001. Artists Respond. Volume One, Mike Richarson, ed., Milwaukie, Dark Horse, Chaos! and Image, 2002, p. 17.

28  Paul Greengrass, United 93, Universal, 2006.

29  Patricia Leigh Brown, « Heavy Lifting Required: The Return of Manly Men », New York Times, October 28, 2001.

30  Zillah Eisenstein, « Feminism in the Aftermath of September 11 », 911–A Public Emergency?, Social Text, No 72, Fall 2002, p. 86.

31  Emily S. Rosenberg, « Rescuing Women and Children », History and September 11th, Joanne Meyerowitz ed,. Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 2003, p. 83.

32  Alessandra Stanley, « Once Again, the Tragedy You Can’t Avoid », New York Times, August 11, 2006.

33  Michel Foucault, « Il faut défendre la société»: Cours au Collège de France. 1976, Mauro Bertanni and Alessandro Fontana, ed., Paris, Seuil, 1997, p. 43-64.

34  Art Spiegelman, In the Shadow of No Towers, New York, Pantheon Books, 2004, p. 4.

35  Ibid, p. 1.

36  « The War Against America: an Unfathomable Attack », editorial, New York Times, September 12, 2001.

37  Joanne Meyerowitz (ed.), History and September 11th, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 2003, p. 1.

38  Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies, New York, Holt, 2005, p. 320.

39  David Simpson, « Telling It Like It Isn’t », Literature After 9/11, Ann Keniston and Jeanne Follansbee Quinn (ed.), New York, Routledge, 2008, p. 209-223.

40  Claire Messud, The Emperor’s Children, New York, Knopf, 2006, p. 386, 388, 391.

41 Ibid, p. 386.

42 Ibid, p. 373.

43  Beau Smith, « Soldiers », 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories to Remember, Vol. 2, Jennete Khan (ed.), New York, DC Comics, 2002, p. 94.

44  Sam Glanzman, « There Were Tears In Her Eyes », 9/11 The World’s Finest Comic Book Writers and Artists Tell Stories to Remember, Vol. 2, Jennete Khan (ed.), New York, DC Comics, 2002, p. 207-210.

45  Raymond Federmand, Critifiction: Postmodern Essays, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1993, p. 25.

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Juanjo Bermúdez de Castro, « Nine-Elevenism », L’Atelier du Centre de recherches historiques [En ligne], 07 | 2011, mis en ligne le 01 septembre 2011, consulté le 21 juillet 2017. URL : http://acrh.revues.org/3572 ; DOI : 10.4000/acrh.3572

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Juanjo Bermúdez de Castro

Juanjo Bermúdez de Castro teaches English and Spanish at CEE in Madrid. He studied Drama, English and Spanish at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and received a scholarship to do research on Shakespeare for one year at Royal Holloway University of London. With another scholarship he did an MA in American Studies at New York University. In New York, he worked for the Cervantes Institute both as a teacher and director of the theatre company, as well as an editor of the Spanish literary magazine at Princeton University. He is a doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at UAM, and he is currently working on his dissertation on how the historic event of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was re-visited and re-written by US fiction under ideological constraints.juanjobermudezdecastro [arobase] gmail.com

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