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The September 11 Attacks: Pop Culture Reaction
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Emails, Forwards, and Attachments
 
Sentimentality
Eagle with Tear Flag Raising Never Surrender, Forget Gone But Not Forgotten
Still image sentimental tributes to the World Trade Center, created by average Americans with Photoshop or some comparable software, and distributed around the world via email
view all 4 images
Internet-distributed "presentations" were also popular in the early 2000s before the advent of YouTube:
"Spirit of America" executable
"Attack" PowerPoint Show (9/14/01)
"Think It Over" PowerPoint Show (9/17/01)
"Twin Beams of Light" PowerPoint Show (3/02)
Spirit of America Attack Think It Over
emails
Emails:  
Email: National Prayer Chain, 9/14/01  
Email: "The Flag"  
   

MP3 Remixes
Yet another digital expression of emotion following the 9/11 attacks was the "remix", in which someone has taken a classic song recording andremixed it in such a way, often with sounds from news broadcasts and speeches, to create a whole new experience. These too were sent around the Internet via email as attachments.
"Yesterday," by the Beatles (remix) "I Will Remember You," by Sarah McLachlan (remix)
"Tears in Heaven, by Eric Clapton (remix) "One Voice," by Billie Gilman (remix)
"Angel," by Sarah McLachlan (remix) The National Anthem (remix)
MP3
Internet MP3 Remixes
 
Vengeance & Humor
Anger was the primary emotion that followed the initial emotional reaction of sadness and sorrow. Not unlike the reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, vengeance quickly became a common theme. Since aircraft were the weapons used by the terrorists, several PowerPoint presentations made the Internet rounds that focused on Boeing remaining "product line."
Boeing Memorandum
Boeing Memorandum
Boeing Product Line version 1Boeing Product Line ver 1 Boeing Product Line version 2
Boeing Product Line ver 2
emails
Emails:  
"Three Wishes" "Taliban Towns Renamed"
"Afghan TV Guide" "'Twas the Night Before Ramadan"
"Suzuki"  
High School Poem  
"Q & A"  

Video
In 2001, Internet video was crude, highly compressed in order to accommodate low bandwidth requirements, and mostly distributed via email attachments. YouTube did not yet exist. Despite these limitations, a few videos were distributed at the beginning of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan:
[video "Bin Dumbshit" | Taliban Bodies Special Edition
film
 
Photoshop Humor
The creation of images using Photoshop or similar programs has long been a creative outlet for expression humor. In 2001, blogs were in their infancy, and email was the mode of choice for distribution. Occasionally, dedicated websites were the source of distribution. In the late 1990s, the "Burt is Evil" website was an Internet phenomenon. The site expanded on the idea that the Sesame Street character was involved in everything from the JFK assassination to alien infiltration. Copycat sites abounded. After 9/11 one of the copycat sites produced a crude image Burt side-by-side with Osama Bin Laden. Pro-Bin Laden protestors in Bangladesh apparently went to the Internet to print off pictures of their icon. The joke was apparently lost on them. Look carefully at the Bin Laden poster in the background of the photograph taken in Bangladesh.
Burt is Evil with Bin Laden
Burt is Evil with Bin Laden
Bangladesh Protesters
Bangladesh Protesters
In these days before the rise of personal blogging sites, email was the most common way for these "photoshopped" images to make the rounds on the Internet. The images below were all collected from forwarded email.
2002 Chrysler New Yorker
2002 Chrysler New Yorker
Afghan Weather Forecast, version 1
Afghan Weather Forecast, version 1
Afghan Weather Forecast, version 2
Afghan Weather Forecast, version 2
Bin Laden on a Date
Bin Laden on a Date
Bin Laden's Car Mirror
Bin Laden's Car Mirror
Bin Laden and the Fat Lady
Bin Laden and the Fat Lady
Bush Studying up on Terrorism
Bush Studying up on Terrorism
A can of Whoop Ass!
A can of Whoop Ass!
Chicken Run 2 Movie Poster,
Chicken Run 2 Movie Poster, a parody of the movie franchise
Afganistone movie poster
Afganistone movie poster, a parody of the poster for the film Tombstone (2 views)
F-16 Chasing Bin Laden
F-16 Chasing Bin Laden
Where was King Kong?
Where was King Kong?
New WTC Design
New WTC Design
Do Your Patriotic Duty
Do Your Patriotic Duty
Sesame Street Gang
Sesame Street Gang
Stealth Bomber Message
Stealth Bomber Message
Lesson From Patton
Lesson From Patton
Taliban Missile Strike
Taliban Missile Strike
Taliban Singles Website
Taliban Singles Website
Taliban Suppository
Taliban Suppository
TaliPampers
TaliPampers
Tali-Tubby
Tali-Tubby, a parody of the popular Teletubbies program
Tali Wars, a parody of Star Wars
Tali Wars, a parody of Star Wars
The Terrorists Have Won the Toss and Elected to Receive
The Terrorists Have Won the Toss and Elected to Receive
The Ahole-Team, a parody of the 1980s TV show, The A-Team
The Ahole-Team, a parody of the 1980s TV show, The A-Team
If the Taliban Win, #1
If the Taliban Win, #1
If the Taliban Win, #2
If the Taliban Win, #2
If the Taliban Win, #3
If the Taliban Win, #3
The Turbanator, a parody of the Terminator film franchise
The Turbanator, a parody of the Terminator film franchise
 
 
Hoaxes
Tourist Guy
Accidental Tourist photo and original photos (4 views)
Supposedly this photo was retrieved from a camera in the rubble of the World Trade Center site. It made the rounds on the Internet and was believed to be authentic by many millions of people. Aside from all the digital imperfections in this image (e.g., shadows of different objects don't correspond to the same light source, the date-time stamp is the wrong type of font), a number of logistical errors make the picture suspect beyond credibility:

September 11 was warm and sunny, not the type of day on which a tourist would have been decked out in a winter coat and hat.
The airliner in this picture is approaching from the north and would therefore have been the one which hit the north tower of the World Trade Center (WTC1), but WTC1 did not have an outdoor observation deck. WTC2 (the south tower) included an indoor observation deck on the 107th floor and an outdoor deck above the 110th floor, but WTC1 housed only Windows on the World, an indoor restaurant with a magnificent view of the city but no outdoor deck.

The operating hours in September for the WTC2 observatories were 9:30 A.M. to 9:30 P.M., meaning they opened too late for a tourist to have been present on one before the first plane hit at 8:49 A.M.

The aircraft shown is a Boeing 757 bearing American Airline markings, but Flight 11, the only American flight to crash into the World Trade Center, was a 767. (The 767 is a wide-body jet; the 757 is a smaller, standard-body craft. A photograph found on Airliners.net from which the image of the plane used here was probably taken depicts a 757.)

In November 2001, a 41-year-old Brazilian man named José Roberto Penteado from Campinas, Sao Paulo, stepped forward and claimed that his face was used for the "Accidental Tourist" photo, but his claim later proved to be rather dubious. A few weeks later, a Hungarian man named Peter staked a much better claim to the "Tourist Guy" crown by supplying the original photograph of himself (and other similar snapshots from the same session) and revealing that he himself had created the infamous "Accidental Tourist" image.

Another hoax was an email message which claimed that terrorist planned on striking American malls around the country on Halloween.
 
America's Canadian Ally
One of the oft-forwarded emails in the days following the 9/11 attacks was one containing an old Canadian editorial in support of the United States. Written just months after the Paris Peace Accords, the image of the United States was then suffering at the hands of international observers who gloated over the failure of America's Vietnam policy. Canadian radio commentator Gordon Sinclair wrote and then delivered a pro-American editorial on his "Let's Be Personal" radio spot on June 5, 1973. Sinclair's comments seemed relevant enough in 2001 for them to be dusted off and re circulated. However, it's not clear in the email that the comments originated long before the attacks. Many recipients of the email (first sent out on 9/13) likely assumed that the editorial was current [view the editorial].
Canadian Editorial
Canadian Infantry
Canadian Infantry
Canadian Navy
Canadian Navy
Canadian Airforce
Canadian Airforce
The popularity of the editorial did not deter one American from poking fun at America's north-of-the-border ally. These three images (also distributed in other non-Canadian contexts) teasing the Canadian military were also widely distributed by email.
 
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