November 28, 2020

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POP CULTURE

“Spider-Man” teaser posters pulled.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, teaser posters for the movie “Spider-Man” were recalled. The poster featured Spider-Man’s face and, in the reflection of his eyes appeared the New York skyline — most prominently, the World Trade Center towers. The creators of the film, however, chose not to digitally remove the few shots of the towers within the film. The movie’s original film trailer, released in 2001, featured a group of bank robbers on their getaway in a helicopter, which Spider-Man catches in a massive spider-web supported by the two towers. The trailer was pulled, but can still be found on YouTube.

“Iron man” in Iraq.
In the original Iron Man comics, Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) arrives in Vietnam and is captured by Vietnam enemies. In 2008, “Iron Man” the film was released with actor Robert Downey Jr. as Stark. No longer was the focus on problems in Vietnam, but it shifted to Iraq, in which we see Downey being captured by terrorists in the very first scene.

Blink-182’s music video for “Stay Together for the Kids” re-shot.
Blink-182 started shooting their video for their hit “Stay Together for the Kids” on Sept. 10, 2001. Originally, the video featured the band playing in a decrepit house that was hit by a wrecking ball and fell apart during the progression of the song. The next day, in putting final touches to the video, news of terrorist attacks in New York City caused the band to trash the original and reshoot it — they opted to do so. They felt the images of the house coming down were too similar to the footage of the attacks. The original version of the video can be seen in select DVD releases of the bands, and on YouTube.

“The Soprano’s” main title changed.
The opening credits of the first three seasons of HBO show “The Sopranos” featured a shot of the World Trade Center towers as seen from the rearview mirror of main character Tony Soprano’s SUV. After Sept. 11, in later seasons, the sequence was replaced with a view of the Manhattan skyline in which the towers were absent.

George Clooney’s quote in “Up in the Air.”

In the film “Up In the Air,” Clooney and his business partner are deciding what line to wait in at an airport security checkpoint. While pointing to a line of Arab men, Clooney says, “Five words: Randomly Selected for Additional Screening.” Clooney and his colleague avoid the line.

CULTURE

Instant racial profiling, rise in hate crimes.
Nearly two months after the attacks, federal investigators began voluntary interviews with more than 5,000 Middle Eastern men who entered the U.S. within the last two years from countries that were linked to terrorism.* In 2004, a Harvard study showed that from 2003 to 2004, anti-Muslim hate crimes rose by more than 50 percent — while 93 anti-Muslim hate crimes were recorded in 2003, 141 hate crimes were recorded in 2004. Furthermore, Harvard’s study found that one of the most significant increases from 2003 to 2004 was that of discrimination by police, such as unwarranted arrests and searches.
*Research of Saint Clara University

Airport security.
Airport security as the American public knew it changed forever after Sept. 11, 2001. Two primary changes occurred, including the federalization of passenger security screening at all commercial airports in the country by November 2002, and the requirement to begin screening all checked baggage by December 2002.* Webster University sociology professor Danielle MacCartney said that even the way Americans pack and travel has changed, down to the kinds of items we stuff in our luggage. Before Sept. 11, packing nail files and opaque bottles of shampoo would never have been an issue. Today, these items are ones we avoid packing.
* The Impact of Post 9/11 Airport Security Measures on the Demand for Air Travel, Cornell University

Fear of Muslim culture.
In regard to fear of Muslims and Muslim culture, MacCartney said, “Immediately after 9/11, stereotypes, fear and negative attitudes towards Muslims increased.” In 2004, a Cornell University study was done to determine how much the public fears terrorism. Almost half of respondents polled nationally said they believe the U.S. government should, in some way, curtail civil liberties for Muslim Americans. However, MacCartney said that the stereotypes about Muslims continue around the glob, but there is evidence that negative attitudes toward Muslims have been decreasing in the U.S. and Europe.

Controversies surround mosque being built around gound zero.
In 2010, plans to build a mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero stirred emotion and conflict when Americans questioned the morality of the mosque’s presence so close to the site. The project was a collaboration between the American Society for Muslim Advancement and the Cordoba Initiative, both of which work to improve relations with the religion’s followers. Plans to build the mosque are still underway, and are said to take years to establish.

Law. Politics.

Culture of Conflict: the War on Terror.
Much like the 1980s and the War on Drugs, the Bush White House quickly declared all military actions after Sept. 11 as part of a continuing “War on Terror.” Critics accuse politicians of using the phrase in place of a specific plan of action against the perpetrators of Sept. 11. The United States has not declared war on any nation since WWII.

detainment: Guantanamo Bay.

In 2002, President Bush and his cabinet authorized the use of the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to serve a new function. A portion of the American base was turned into a detention facility for individuals detained in the War on Terror. Legal experts on both sides of the aisle have argued over the popularly known “Gitmo.” Former chief-of-staff for Colin Powell and Republican Secretary of State Lawrence Wilkerson made harsh accusations about the way Gitmo has been run. Wilkerson said in an interview with The New York Times that administration officials knew that a large number of Gitmo detainees were innocent of any crime, but that releasing them was “politically impossible.” Attempts to close the camp in recent years have failed.

enhanced interrogation: Waterboarding.
After 9/11, the Bush White House adopted policies utilizing “enhanced interrogation techniques” when questioning high-value detainees in the War on Terror. Techniques included stress positions, sleep deprivation, diet restrictions, extreme temperature exposure, fear scenarios and waterboarding (simulated drowning). The international community, as well as the United Nations, dubbed the controversial techniques as torture, which is banned by the Geneva Convention.

security: the u.s. patriot act.
On Oct. 26, 2001, George W. Bush signed into law the controversial and provocative Patriot Act. When The New York Times broke a story about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, and the phony courts established to fast-track warrants for searches and seizures, they cited Patriot Act regulations as the primary source for the government’s newfound power of observation.  Congress voted in 2010 to renew the majority of the act, which was set to expire the following year.

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