9/11: Where Is The Art?

Nine years after the planes hit the World Trade Center, how has 9/11 been reflected in the arts and entertainment? Not very eloquently. The closest we’ve gotten to a first-rate popular expression of the events of that day is “United 93.” No novel, no poem, no dance work, no symphony has given anything indelible about that sunny morning. The real-life destruction itself remains the ultimate expression. Not in the sense that the composer Stockhausen meant when he said that 9/11 was “the biggest work of art there has even been.” (A remark that was widely misunderstood. It is much less incendiary in context.) But in the sense that for American pop culture, for which the “highest” expression is the explosion in a Hollywood movie, airplanes ramming into a skyscraper is the ultimate in life imitating art. Unfortunately.

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