Lost in Hollywood
Apologies are owed for my delay in writing. I’ve been taking a bit of time to enjoy the week of my birthday, and now that it has passed, it’s back to the grind of producing material for my wonderfully dedicated readers! With that being said, today was of course a day for us to take time to remember an event which occurred in the lifetime of more than likely most of us. The disgusting attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, as well as quite possibly one other target, all of which that claimed the lives of thousands of Americans, and others from many nations across the globe.
Many people are of the notion that it was an attack by religious zealots looking to target a high value target designated by our society in which they could inflict the highest damage possible, and demoralize our country through dangerously close guerrilla warfare. Others, believe that it was a welcomed attack, brought on by purposefully lax security in order to perpetuate a conflict that has been building for nearly the last 20 years. I have my own theories upon this tragedy as well, all of which I won’t begin to delve into in this post. They are currently irrelevant, and would only serve to further infuriate me over the senseless loss of life that many encountered on this day 11 years ago.
What I do want to point out however, is something that nearly rivals the incident itself in such abhorrence. Now, my first job was working for a movie theater when I turned 16. This wasn’t that long ago, however it taught me a few valuable aspects of the movie industry. The most important of those being, that regardless of how horrible an event is, and despite how much better judgment would viciously caution against it, Hollywood is determined to create movies that recreate actual tragic events that have taken place. 9/11 is no exception, as people have time, and time again jumped to making some flag-waving movie about how we’ve come together in the face of grief to do things that somehow make us star-spangled amazing.
This bothers me to no end. As if it wasn’t bad enough actual people had to lose their lives, movie producers, directors, and actors galore have jumped on the convenient business strategy of saying “Hey, I should be in this movie that is going to receive a lot of views strictly because it pertains to sensitive content that will make people think I’m deeper than a puddle, and connected to worldly virtues”. You’ll probably recognize such titles as “Dear John”, “United 93”, “World Trade Center”, “Hope and a Little Sugar”, “Into the Fire”, and “My Name is Khan”. All of these films explored the same recycled themes and messages of “people who experienced the same feelings from 9/11 as everyone else, but we felt that somehow their stories were worth winning film festival awards with”. Films about diversity, and acceptance, and why tragedy tends to bring people together as their lives cross haphazardly.
To think that movies were the only industry taking advantage of a horrible event in recent history would be naive. No, the land of music was riddled with post-9/11 lyrics, most of which contained no relevant meaning to the event itself, nor did it serve any purpose to create the song other than to fuel the same pathetic cycle in which most media outlets survived off of at the time. Such famous musical entertainers as Alan Jackson, Tori Amos, Paul McCartney, Toby Keith, Immortal Technique, Fleetwood Mac, DJ Sammy, Testament, Lupe Fiasco, dc Talk, and even Sheryl Crow all fall into a pool of artists who have crafted some form of new hit-single out of the events that took place on this day, 11 years ago. Emotion driven feel-good tracks designed only to bring a form of melancholy affliction to the listener have been rendered classics, and for some reason are regarded as a great tribute to those who died. Why, is beyond me.
I get that some people won’t understand my point. I grasp completely that I come off as almost completely insensitive to celebrities who quite likely were grief-stricken by the attacks on 9/11, and were therein inspired to craft a tribute in the form of art in which they specialize in, in order to provide for either some form of charity or benefit fund for the families of the victims. However, I can say with absolute certainty that there were quite a few who chose NOT to distribute this wealth out of the need for avaricious gains. These people, are cruel and immoral panderers to those who were suffering, and are now exploiting an international tragedy for the sheer purpose of obtaining petty awards by way of judges who are inclined to cater to pseudo-moral flag-wavers and false patriots. There is nothing notable, nor honorable about this act. Not to mention, for our country to celebrate this scam incessantly is the most insulting joke ever to the memory of the dead.
For anyone who has ever seen the famous episode of South Park “Ladder to Heaven”, Trey Parker and Matt Stone accurately describe what happens when people begin to embrace products sold by artists who know how to perfectly seize the opportunity of a tragedy. Terrifying imagery of unforgettable moments are wrapped with red, white, and blue bows; all of which are sold with the facade of compassion, and disguised as empathy. Unfailingly, people forget that they’re throwing currency at a propaganda campaign and become blinded by personal loss and grief, allowing themselves to be consumed by the Hollywood black hole of money schemes. As long as you keep thinking that “It’s time to mourn”, you’ll never forget what a great feeling it was to come together and not have to use your critical thinking skills. When you shut your brain off, then all you have to do is ride the apathy wagon while you hope that someone else cares for you in this trying time in your life.
That’s why I think this should be the last September 11th that anyone forces a wave of dramatic sorrow to the surface. Keep the memory alive, yes. It was a horrible, and unfortunate event to happen in the lives of any of us who played witness to such a feat of reckless malice. However, the most important part of the coping process is moving forward, learning from the experience, and not allowing it to cripple you for the rest of your days. To all of our friends in the entertainment industry, I’d ask one thing:
Please make this the last anniversary of September 11th that you decide to sell a tragedy product, designed to make millions while capitalizing on people’s emotions.