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Post 9-11 entertainment: what changed and why January 8, 2010

Part 1: television

One thing that is rarely looked at as far as how the world has changed after the horrible events of September 11 is how entertainment media changed. Whenever a major event or catastrophe happens, the entertainment portion of the media reacts.

Take for instance the current hit NBC show The Office. In the 2009 season, one of Michael Scott’s (played by Steve Carell) excuses for not being able to take a call is that he is at an “Obama fashion show.” This was no exception in 2001 in the days after 9/11 – albeit with a serious tone. Post-9/11 ratings for television show such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart soared. Some viewers proclaimed the show as their “bonafide news source.” Other comedy shows, such as The Late Show with David Letterman, opened with a more somber tone where a rather nervous and sad Letterman lamented to the audience about hwo the attacks “made any goddamn sense.”

Television was heavily afftected byy the attacks with a major blow producer David Angell, who was on board hijacked American Airlines Flight 11. Angell was a producer and co-creator of NBC’s Frasier. In Frasier’s final episode, Niles and Daphne have a baby and name their son David as a tribute to Angell.

Other television shows inevitably had to write in plots dealing with terrorism and grief. Shows such as The West Wing aired non-story arch episodes that dealt with the attacks. The West Wing episode Issac and Ishmael opened with a plea from the cast to donate to charities for those that were lost in the 9/11 attacks. Other shows, such as NBC’s Third Watch, directly dealt with the attacks by including them into their storylines.  The start of the fall season of television for new shows was delayed or it had to be altered due to the show’s content.

Other mainstay shows had to quickly pull episodes that dealt with some form of terrorism. Reruns of certain episodes of  shows such as Married……..With Children and The Simpsons were pulled from syndication. The Simpsons episode The City of New York vs. Homer, there are scenes that prominently display the World Trade Center. After the events of September 11, many thought that, despite the relative innocence of the scenes in question, that viewers might have been too sensitive to seeing images of the building intact (even in cartoon form), with the events of that day still fresh on the minds of the people. This episode has since been put back into syndication as time has passed. The episode in question in regards to Married…..With Children was the episode Get Outta Dodge where Al Bundy is approached by some Arabs who want to buy his old Dodge car and also ask Bundy for directions.

After September 11, 2oo1, FOX notified all of its syndicated carriers of the show about the episode in question and left the decision up to the discretion of the individual stations. A number of TV stations in the US did temporarily pull the episode and showed other reruns in its place. As time passed and sensitivity lessened, the episode began being aired again regularly.

Awards shows were also affected. The 2001 Emmy Awards were postponed twice due to the terrorist attacks, the then-impending US airstrikes against Afghanistan and the bakckout of Don Mischner Productions – who was producing the show. The telecast finally aired on November 4, but cost CBS millions of dollars. The 74th Annual Academy Awards held a tribute to New York-themed films hosted by Woody Allen.

Sources:

http://www.film.com/features/story/tv-after-911/16331988

http://www.guardian.co.uk/pictures/image/0,8543,-10404256105,00.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106004/trivia

http://www.twiztv.com/cgi-bin/transcript.cgi?episode=http://dmca.free.fr/scripts/thewestwing/season3/thewestwing-300.txt

http://www.imdb.com/Sections/Awards/Emmy_Awards/2001

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0313162/trivia

http://www.snpp.com/guides/lisa-5.html#5.2.7

http://www.bundyology.com/hpg/817.html

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“If we do not study history, we are doomed to repeat it” December 19, 2009

Imagine a world where……..

  • all of New York is crawling in fear.

    Here, the New York skyline shows off its marvel of architecture, the World Trade Center

  • you are notified via a PA system at a place called “The Happiest Place On Earth” that ” due to circumstances beyond our control, the Magic Kingdom is now closed. Please follow the direction of the nearest Cast Member.” However, there is not an impending hurricane.
  • the FAA grounds all outgoing and incoming airplanes.
  • thousands of people lose their lives by just going to work or leaving on a jet plane in Manhattan, Shanksville, PA, and Washington DC.

Unfortunately, this day did occur 8 years and 3 months ago, September 11, 2001; in New York City,The Pentagon in Washington D.C., and a field in Shanksville, PA when the World Trade Center

September 11, 2001

However, the twin towers ceased to exist as of September 11, 2001, which launced the United States into what has become known as the War on Terror.

and the Pentagon were hit by commercial airliners in an attempt by the Taliban and Osama Bin Ladin to bring America to her knees and cry. This birthed the post 9-11 world, the world that we currently reside in. The plane that crashed in Shanksville, PA was headed for the White House.

Once again, we have entered a pre-9/11 mindset. President Barack Obama has decided to shut down Gitmo and house the prisoners in Thomson, Ill. Also, a decision has been made by the Obama administration to try those accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks in New York City which, in essence, gives them rights equivalent to a criminal in the US. To top it all off, the attacks at Ft. Hood have gone unavenged.

If the Obama administration keeps this up, they will put us on the fast-track to another terrrorist attack. Former President Bill Clinton did nothing to retaliate against those who lost their lives on October 12, 2000 when the USS Cole was attacked by Taliban suicide bombers. Clinton also did nothing about the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya.

If we do nothing to evoke a harsher stance towards terrorism and keep the course in Afghanistan, we will indeed face another tragic day like September 11, 2001.

Sources:

 

September 11, 2001 – the defining moment of the decade December 18, 2009

As the decade comes to a close in a few days, there will be only one thing that truly defines the decade: the fatefule events of September 11, 2001.

Her is my recount of where I was and what I was doing on that fateful day in September.

But first, let me give you a history of that whole year so that you can understand the change of the mindset of everyone, including myself.

The summer of 2001 was a rather interesting one due to the fact that I went on a mission trip for the first time as a Christian entitled “Houston 2001.” (Now known as “The Houston Project.”) I did it with the youth group that I was in at the time.

I was also about to enter highschool. I was slated to attend a local private highschool in my hometown: Houston, TX. The week that school started was a rather innocuous one – very innoccent. The entire class went on a retreat and we played a game called “Romans and Christians” – a Christian version of the classic game of chase.

A few weeks before, I remember my father and I were looking for camera equipment and we stopped by the local AudioVideo Plus store on Richmond ave (now an adult megaplexx place, ick!) and we just looked around the video store and the old videos. It was a rainy, but sunny day in Houston.

Then 9/11 happened a few days later. I went to class as usual and, according to the timeline of events (Houston is on central time), I was in World History Class because classes started at 7:45 am. But nobody told us about the event at first. The next class I had was a typing class and another fellow classmate, a boy, came into the class and exclaimed to the teacher that 3 planes had crashed. Knowing this boy to be obnoxious, I ignored him and thought that this sorta thing, plane crashes, happen everyday.

But little did I know that what I was about to hear in the announcements period on that Tuesday was a very life-altering event for everyone. The next period I went to announcements and sat down next to my friend, Brittan Braddock, and the principle, a native new yorker himself, made the shocking announcement that the world trade center had been hit as well as the pentagon by muslim extremists.

The whole room went into a state of disbelief and questioning. The next class period, women’s chorus, was no exception either because the teacher stayed silent in regards to helping us understand what happened in New York.

The rest of the day was filled with lots of talk about what happened, along with the two types of Islam. They even had televisions out broadcasting the news. Everything that day was cancelled. I remember that I was a little glad that handbell practice was cancelled because I was starting to not like handbells. So I was picked up by my father and left the school.

When my father picked me up, he told me that there was a call from the church that we attended saying that the wednesday youth group meeting was going to be cancelled and that there was going to be a church (or citywide since this particular church is a megachurch – not like Joel Osteen’s Lakewood.) prayer meeting. It was pretty crowded.

Friday, I went to my first highschool football game. It was a time of fun, yet still remembering what happened.

Sunday was a rather busy day. I had to go to two separate churches, a local lutheran church to sing and then Houston’s First Baptist because I wanted to go to my home church. At the lutheran church, we sang Great is the Lord by Michael W. Smith and Lord of All by First Call. It was such short notice that we didn’t change our performance and, like the rest of the congregation, we were in equal shock and disbelief. By the time I got to First, it was a pretty packed congregation. The day was a rather big blur but I do remember confiding in my friend Shannon and telling her that I did want to cry. She told me it was okay to do so.

The following week I went to see the Avalon “Oxygen tour” at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion. I and my friend were late to the concert, but we made it just in the nick of time for Avalon to take the stage with their then-upcoming single Wonder Why. Many things suprised me that night. For starters, neither I, my father (who was also in attendance), nor my friend were searched in any way. I was also suprised that Avalon did not show any footage or even mention the terrible events that had happened in the US during the song Picture Perfect World. Instead, during that song, they showed a video montage of the band doing work with Compassion International. I personally thought that this gesture was a little conceited and selfish – like they were giving glory to themselves and not Jesus.

However, looking back, they were playing to an audience filled with families and maybe those families were looking to escape, but at least maybe one of the members, such as Janna Long or now-former member Cheri (who is from Rhode Island – nearby), could have said something like “Tonight as we sing this song [Picture Perfect World] our hearts, minds and prayers are with those that are suffering tonight in New York City, Washington D.C, and Shanksville, PA.” Other than that, it was a good concert. I still have (and wear) my Oxygen Tour tshirt.

Other than that, the year was a normal one for me. I had a good Christmas – I got my very first bass guitar that year as a gift along with a new Out of the Grey cd. I experienced my first real crush on a boy named Owen – a senior no less!

A year and 4 months later, I got to visit Ground Zero on a choir tour of New York. It was a very moving experience being at that site, as well as a sad one. We all cried when we spontaneously sang Ein So Lord Jesus Quickly Come and another song called Sanctuary. Everybody cried while at that site.