A Disappointing Experience

A “salon” forum just wrapped up over at BAGNewsNotes, meant to discuss the visual impact of images of 9/11. I had been looking forward to the experience, but was mostly disappointed. For the most part it degenerated into Bush-bashing, and very few participants seemed to want to discuss the images themselves as visual artifacts and preferred to discuss the political dimensions to the images and the tragedy itself. A few interesting points were made, but the political talk was the main event and I felt uncomfortable contributing to the discussion because I wanted to talk about photographs – not politics.

The participants in this particular discussion could mildly be described as “liberal” – but the right does this too. September 11 has become as much political shorthand as it has national tragedy. Perhaps it’s because we’re still so close to it and the pain is still so raw – perhaps it’s because we’re in a highly partisan environment in a run-up to the first post-Bush presidential election. Perhaps it’s because the event itself is still too hard to talk about, and so it’s easier to bash political opponents.

Because I don’t want this blog to become overtly partisan, I’m not going to link to the transcript (which hasn’t been posted yet, anyway). But if you’re particularly interested, I’m sure you’ll be able to find it by clicking through to the blog’s main page (linked above). 

I may eventually have more to say about this. I may not. For now, this has all given me a lot to think about – not just about the imagery of 9/11, but about the varied uses we all make out of images.

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~ by David Cupp on September 11, 2008.

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