Many things changed after September the 11th 2001, the most obvious thing was the Law. There was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, there was the creation of the Patriot Act, ideas such as indefinite detention without trial, searching through personal records without a court order, and wire-tapping without a warrant were blindly accepted by all. Numerous surveillance programmes were incepted, and various agencies used the event as an excuse to spy on e-mails and phone calls. New concepts such as deeming someone as an “enemy combatant” even allowed for the suspension of habeas corpus. Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp was established to “detain extraordinarily dangerous prisoners”. And oh yeah, prisoners and detainees were tortured instead of interrogated.
Due to the atmosphere and the fears that were created by the government and the mainstream media, even after a few hours, almost all the American people were ready to favour and accept any draconian law over their civil liberties; the end result was tantamount to tearing up the Constitution itself. Patrick Henry once said “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government”. It was then, quite ironic that the people of America who placed so much value in this document, were ready to oppose everything they held true only a day earlier; simply at the drop of two towers.
It wasn’t however, just the world of politics and law that were affected by this event. Due to the corruptness of the mainstream media and the Entertainment Industry as a whole; every sector within played a part in pushing and promoting a certain opinion and stance. First up…
Television & Film
Television was a weird place after 9/11. Flicking between channels made little difference; everybody on screen was either sullen, dumb-founded, angry, crying, or all four. This was juxtaposed by unabashed showings of patriotism and support for all things American. But aside from the almost non-stop coverage and endless replays of the attacks, it was the scheduling decisions and omissions that were stranger than the zombie-like opinions aired across all the channels.
Late night talk shows such as Letterman and Jay Leno were off air. Old programmes that had any reference to the World Trade Center were yanked out. Shows ranging from “Law And Order” to “The Simpsons” were edited and even similar-looking scenes such as skyscrapers being destroyed were removed from shows like “The Power Rangers” and “Pokémon”. I mean, if you’re devastated by an actual real-life event, why would a kid’s television show offend you? This was a tiny glimpse into the reactionary stance that every sector of entertainment took during the aftermath.
When televisual mainstays such as Letterman came back a week later, they seemed to be energised with a patriotic fervour the likes of which we had never seen. David Letterman in particular began his show in typical post-9/11-form; he started with a sombre yet nationalistic monologue intended to whip the audience into a pro-American frenzy. Adorned with an American Flag pin on his lapel, he called New York’s Mayor Rudy Giuliani an “amazing man” and also “the personification of courage”. This arse-kissing was of course extended to the Police and Fire-fighters of New York City, who the audience and viewers at home were told to “never take for granted”. This seemed to be typical for most TV Personalities over the coming months and years, and as they all uttered the same contrived pro-USA propaganda, calling the city of New York “the greatest city in the world”, they all seemed to be ignoring events such as three teenage morons burning down a Sikh Temple in the city. In fact most of television seemed to advertise and glorify the idea of the moral and virtuous American citizen despite Islamophobic hate-crimes increasing by 400% on the previous year.
The only contrary opinion on television I remember from that time, was Bill Maher saying (when referring to the terrorists) “…We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from two thousand miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building. Say what you want about it. Not cowardly…” Incidentally, Bill Maher’s show “Politically Incorrect” was cancelled not long after this comment following viewer complaints and withdrawal of advertisers.
Film and Cinema wasn’t much better. Films which were in production and which featured the Twin Towers were re-shot or digitally deleted. Films including “Spider Man”, were re-written and re-shot and their post-9/11 version was typically patriotic. The re-jigged “Spider Man” featured nauseating scenes of New Yorkers sticking together in the face of evil, and Spider Man even clung-on to on the American Flag. Compare that to the original:
After any major event such as war or political scandal, it is very common for Hollywood to cash-in on the mood, atmosphere, and the popular opinion of the nation. We are all familiar with the plethora of World War II films which are shown every VE Day for example, but given that over 2.5% of the world’s population died during that war; it isn’t surprising that so many films were made about the subject. When it came to September The 11th which left around 3000 people dead, this relatively small amount (when compared to the 60 million plus in World War 2) still managed to inspire a handful of films and documentaries.
A few months after 9/11 films like “Ladder 49” began to cash in on everybody’s new-found love for Fire-Fighters. The New York Mayor who only a few years earlier was the enemy of all poor minorities, became some kind of God-like figure and even birthed the movie “Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story”. Oh how quickly New Yorkers forgot about Abner Louima. We also had Paul Greengrass’ “United 93” and Oliver Stone‘s “World Trade Center” which were the first few films that actually tackled the events of the day. It was surprising at the time that the likes of Stone, who only a decade earlier brought us the conspiracy theory based “JFK” and the anti-war “Born On The Fourth Of July”, would make a movie concerning 9/11 without any unorthodox opinion attached to it.
The 1991 movie “JFK”, was not only a big success, it was one of many movies which showed historical events from a different perspective, but after 9/11 even Oliver Stone created a film which was neither left-field nor subversive. In fact no film made since September 11th has ever portrayed anything contrary to the official narrative. Back in the seventies, the John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy was turned into a mainstream movie ten years after the event (“Executive Action” – event 1963, film 1973). The Apollo Moon Landings was indirectly tackled eight years after the event (“Capricorn One” – event 1969, film 1977). The events of Watergate were turned into a film only four years after they took place (“All The Presidents Men” – event 1972, book 1974, film 1976). And yet even after a decade and a half has passed we have yet to see even an allusion to the various conspiracies that surrounded that day, let alone an entire movie based on a conspiracy. We may have had a few internet documentaries ranging from “Loose Change” to “September Clues”, but amateur documentaries are the modern day equivalent of a few friends talking in a bar, it was the responsibility of Hollywood to bring conspiracies to the masses as they did with “JFK”. But it seems they too, bent to the pressure of the government and became a bunch of closed-minded fascists.
More memorable than the blinkered filmic output was the Film Stars themselves. Bruce Willis weirdly offered a bounty of $1,000,000 on Saddam Hussein and then later offered the same on Osama Bin Laden. He also said to the troops “If you catch him, just give me four seconds with Saddam Hussein”. So I guess it was Willis sticking that wooden stick in Saddam’s mouth. When Willis told the US Army “I wanted to sign up and fight with you guys, but they told me I was too old” we all wished Twentieth Century Fox would have told him the same thing before he began fucking up the Die Hard Franchise. I mean when life imitates art it’s sometimes quite ironic (as well as cringe-inducing), so when Bruce Willis began yelping crap like “This is the war on terrorism; it’s worth fighting for”, it was like he’d forgotten that even in the plot of Die Hard 1 through 3; Terrorism was just a ruse.
There were other celebrities too that became mega-dickheads post 9/11. Twats like James Woods (who was probably gassed from playing Giuliani in the film “Rudy”) uttered the racial epithet “towel-heads” and it was essentially glazed over by the media. There was also racist pricks like Mark Wahlberg who spurted out typical gung-ho quotes like the talentless hack he is; “If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did… There would have been a lot of blood in that first-class cabin and then me saying, ‘OK, we’re going to land somewhere safely, don’t worry”. I’m sure that would have been the case – Dirk Diggler would have saved the goddam day.
While every famous fucker with a six-pack was bragging how they would single-handedly kick Islamic Fundamentalism’s ass, people like James Cameron outlined how a Muslim Terrorist should never appear on celluloid ever again; “We abandoned True Lies 2 after 9/11, because we didn’t think a comedy about fundamentalist terrorists was so funny anymore”. It wasn’t that funny in the nineties Mr. Cameron, but hey keep working on back-to-back Avatars until we discover real aliens; then deem any comedic representation of them “not appropriate” too.
Abraham Lincoln once said “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves”. Thanks to the people in charge of film and television, the two industries were definitely candidates for almost destroying the United States.
News & Print Media
The main reason that television pretty much became a one-sided exercise in jingoism was because most entertainment channels interrupted their regular programming and left the mainstream News Corporations to tell the people what to think. Until that day, we could all choose to ignore what Fox, CNN, or the BBC thought, but that day it was literally the only thing on. So with the next couple of days becoming a wall-to-wall Corporate News-a-thon filled with miserable curmudgeons reading out drip-fed concepts and conclusions across all of TV; most of the World sat there and became brainwashed like never before.
Because of this sheep-like cross-channel conformity, anything reported was blindly accepted across the board. There was the fire reported in a mall, a car bomb at the State Department, a truckload of bombs on the George Washington Bridge, and the celebrating or “dancing” Israelis who were arrested. Some peripheral stories that day may have been true, but the majority were obviously false, and yet the News Channels broadcast every piece of erroneous crap regardless; a great precursor to the “Chinese Whisper” style of reporting we have all grown to hate over the last decade and a half.
On top of all that bullshit, there was the horrendous case of the fake “dancing” and “cheering” Palestinians that was aired across all the channels in order to demonise the Middle East. In fact, it later turned out that the “dancing” Palestinians were given cake and sweets and told to cheer for the camera crew. This footage was then falsely claimed to be a genuine reaction by Muslims to the 9/11 attacks! And this is the so-called trusted media we rely on to tell us the truth?
Whilst on the topic of suspicious stories, the entire News Network was definitely way too quick to find the culprit or culprits for my liking. But even after they did begin to mention the great bogeyman Bin Laden, it made you wonder how they could all say it was unequivocally him that quickly; and without even a shred of evidence. Then for the next few days the News Channels though adamant of Osama’s guilt; became unsure about the spelling of his name, confusedly juggling the spelling of Osama and Usama. I guess the intelligence agencies sent them a misspelt script, but like a bunch of robots they read it anyway. If you’ve ever watched the film “Lions For Lambs”, you will know what I mean when I say the entire Western News Network became a wind-sock in the wake of 9/11.
The Newspapers, which were just a 2D extension of the televisual rhetoric, also began to strengthen the ideas put forward by the TV News. The front pages for the next few days, and even for the next few months remained unashamedly pro-USA, pro-military, anxiety-inducing and even shit-stirring.
Magazines too became patriotic even if they had nothing to do with reporting news. Fashion and music mags all did their best to show their allegiance to mass hysteria, even if the contents didn’t contain any direct mention of 9/11.
The News and Print Media was one of the first sectors that began to proselytize the nation into a reactionary, right-wing, and Nationalistic way of thought; converting and programming all of the West to think one way about the incident. Every news outlet essentially followed the same plot incorporating various mendacities about the “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” in Iraq and how that country somehow linked with Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the dead alleged terrorists of the day. The whole thing seemed so tenuous and yet it was accepted by every mainstream broadcaster who collectively seemed as though they were reading from the same hymn sheet. Watching or reading anything resulted in the same message, with everybody essentially saying “We want justice for the killing of a few thousand of our people at the hands of a few foreign men, by killing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of innocent foreign people (who have nothing to do with the event itself)”. This later became “We’re going to Iraq and Afghanistan to ‘liberate’ them, we’ll give them ‘freedom’ and get rid of a Dictator in the process”.
Shoving the word “freedom” down the throats of the world as some holy-tent-peg of the United Sates became a constant, the word essentially became a synonym for both America and War. It was however, painfully ironic how many freedoms the American citizens allowed their government to take away from them. When Thomas Paine said “It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government” little did he know the power the Western Governments would have over the News Corporations in the beginning of the twenty first century; and in turn how much influence the News and Media had on the people.
This conformity and relenting to hierarchical power, has left an indelible mark on the News. Every so often the channels collectively pick a target and begin to pick at it regardless of the story’s legitimacy. Remember all that skewed hatred that surrounded the “Ground Zero Mosque”? As though everybody who’s Muslim is somehow offensive to the surrounding area after 9/11. I mean that’s like London wanting to ban a Catholic Church or even banning Irish Pubs just because of the IRA. I recall one night, Fox News‘ Megyn Kelly arguing (or essentially bullying) Political Activist Ward Churchill like a cheerleader reading an auto-cue. So-called Journalists like Kelly seem to quarrel with the likes of Churchill without first understanding or even acknowledging his statements or point of view. Hey, if you have anything even remotely left-field to say or have an opinion counter to the status quo concerning 9/11; you can bet they’ll come down on you like a tonne of New York bricks.
We are all incessantly told about all the great music that was produced during the time of the Vietnam War. We are told that Folk music and the Hippie Movement made a lot of changes during that time, it was by all accounts an all-American musical revolution. But come 2001, it seemed that great protest music was a thing of the past. Why was this particular generation so quite? The answer… it wasn’t.
During the war in Vietnam, “Eve of Destruction” by Barry McGuire got to number 1 in the charts, but in 2001 it was Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule’s “I’m Real” or Alicia Keys “Fallin’” that reached the top spot. Due to the almost complete takeover of mainstream radio by four companies; the playlists were devoid of anything but “safe” Pop music following 9/11. The Clear Channel Memorandum for example, was sent to all 1200 radio stations that were controlled by that company. The memo contained songs which were deemed “lyrically questionable” and were therefore not played following the attacks. Although Clear Channel didn’t control all music, instances like this proved what the powers that be were doing in the background so they could bring you an undiluted dose of pure patriotism.
If you relied on the mainstream media to bring you music during that period, you found nothing but quick references to the event or corny fake-patriotic, pro-military, and nationalistic drivel. In any case, during the first few months, pretty much everybody shied away from speaking their mind, for fear of being labelled a “traitor”.
After Dr. Dre rushed to publicly donate money to a victim relief fund, and after Mariah Carey blamed 9/11 for the poor sales of her album “Glitter”, the first few tracks created after the event were unashamedly patriotic and vomit-inducing. Either that or they referenced the event without airing any real opinion. One of the first was Petey Pablo’s “Raise Up” (USA Flag Remix), but whereas the original incarnation of the track mentioned Pablos’ home North Carolina, after 9/11 there was this flag-waving remix which featured some dreadful red, white, and blue lyrics; “All the people around the world that’s why we get through that. Fort Jackson, Fort Bragg, Camp Jude and David. Pensacola, Parris Island, Troops over here, Seals over there. Fort Dix, Fort Lee, Pearl Harbor. The Army, the Navy, Air Force, Marines. Green Beret, Navy Seals, New York Police. Even got me dressed in Army fatigues, how ya love that?”.
Pop-Rap has-been MC Hammer released an album titled “Active Duty” which featured pro-military, pro-war, and patriotic themes. Wearing a star-spangled bandana on his head and rapping the double negative “Ain’t gonna be no stopping us”, the music video to accompany the lead single was shot in Washington D.C. with members of congress singing and dancing to the chorus. Thankfully the album and single didn’t sell that well and Hammer faded into obscurity (where he belongs).
There was also underground rapper Canibus and his song “Draft Me”, which like these other two tracks, “bigged up” the US Army. “Draft me, I swear to God, we ready for the Taliban. Drop the bomb, and huddle with some nuclear laws, come on!” rapped Canibus who then went on to join the Military. There was also the horrid chorus “Draft me! I wanna fight for my country, jump in a Humvee and murder those monkeys! Draft me! I’m too dedicated to fail, justice must prevail” which made you realise what kind of racist morons mainstream music and the US Army were attracting after September.
Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan also got in on the action with the track “Rules”. He rapped “Who the fuck knocked our buildings down? Who the man behind the World Trade massacres, step up now. Where the four planes at huh is you insane bitch? Fly that shit over my hood and get blown to bits! No disrespect, that’s where I rest my head I understand you gotta rest yours true, nigga my people’s dead. America, together we stand, divided we fall Mr. Bush sit down, I’m in charge of the war!” This was one of the weirdest and least expected references to the event, I mean until late 2001, we all thought the Wu-Tang were firmly counter culture. The Wu-Tang Album “Iron Flag” also referenced the 1945 Iwo Jima flag-raising photo.
One of the few music acts who had an anti-war stance was Nas. He released the song “Rule” featuring Amerie and it featured the lyrics; “Yo, there’s Asia, Africa, Europe, France, Japan, Pakistan, America, Afghanstan. Yo, there’s Protestants, Jews, Blacks, Arabics, call a truce, world peace, stop actin’ like savages. No war, we should take time and think, the bombs and tanks makes mankind extinct. But since the beginning of time it’s been men with arms fightin’. Lost lives in the Towers and Pentagon, why then, must it go on? we must stop the killin’, tell me why we die, we all God’s children”. As a single however, “Rule” was not heavily promoted, it did not receive a music video treatment and was never released in compact disc format. Surprise, surprise.
The next year marked the beginning of real counter-culture Hip-Hop. First up was Dead Prez’ “Know Your Enemy”. Some of the lyrics were; “You got to watch what you say in these days and times, it’s a touchy situation, lot of fear and emotion. September 11th, televised world-wide. Suicide planes fallin’ like bombs from out the sky. They wasn’t aimin’ at us not at my house, they hit The World Trade, The Pentagon and almost got The White House. Now everybody walkin’ ’round patriotic. How we gon’ fight to keep freedom when we ain’t got it? You wanna stop terrorists? Start with the U.S. imperialists, ain’t no track record like America’s, see Bin Laden was trained by the C.I.A., but I guess if you a terrorist for the U.S. then it’s okay”
There was also J-Live’s “Satisfied” and Mr. Lif’s “Home Of The Brave. Mr Lif rapped; “It’s easy to control the scared so they keep us in fear, with their favourite Middle Eastern demon named Bin Laden this year. Bush disguises blood lust as patriotism, convincing the living to love ‘Operation Let’s Get ‘Em’. But when he realized we don’t support their attacks, they needed something to distract, hmm, anthrax. This further demonizes Afghanis, so Americans cheer while we kill their innocent families. And what better place to start a war. To build a pipeline to get the oil that they had wanted before. America supported the Taliban, to get Russia out of Afghanistan, that’s how they got the arms in. They’re in a war against the Northern Alliance, and we can’t build a pipeline in hostile environments. Here’s what your history books won’t show: You’re a dead man for fucking with American dough. They killed several birds with one stone, while you’re at home with anti-terrorism up in your dome. But my eyes are wide open and my TV is off. Great, ’cause I save on my electricity cost. And you can wave that piece of shit flag if you dare, but they killed us because we’ve been killing them for years”.
But whereas the underground was pushing for an alternative message, the mainstream promoted all their schmaltzy garbage to the overground crowd. There was Jay-Z‘ “Ballad For The Fallen Soldier” which sported some of the most mediocre and pointless lyrics ever put to music; “Off to Bootcamp, the worlds facing terror. Bin Laden been happenin’ in Manhattan. Crack was anthrax back then, back when, Police was Al’Qaeda to black men. While I was out there hustling sinning with no religion, he was off the wall killing for a living” amazing stuff, Shawn. Despite Jay-Z’ lyrics being completely vacuous when compared to Dead Prez and Mr. Lif, it was Jay Z’ album “The Blueprint2: The Gift & the Curse” that rose to the top of the charts and sold over 2 million copies.
It wasn’t just real Hip-Hop that was being suppressed during this time, I myself not being an avid listener to anything but underground Rap, someone once told me about a Punk group called World Burns To Death and their 9/11 inspired song “Sucking Of The Missile Cock”. At the same time as Avril Lavigne was being touted as the next great Rocker (remember that bullshit?) real Punk with political views was being hidden behind this fake-skater. With lyrics like “You sing ‘Guns for the Afghan Rebels’… Well, now those rebels are your devils, Punks wrapped up in fucking flags, I’d like to wrap you up in body bags. Take your fucking toe tags, and add them to the list of traitors. When did this patriotic pox start infecting our punk rock? Cops and jocks with Mohawks, sucking on the missile cock” it was good to see that at least non-mainstream Rock music was remaining true.
Underground Hip-Hop and Punk aside, in 2002 we had Pop and Country Music’s attempts at a message, and that was either “no-comment” or “let’s go kill those bastards!”. First up was The Cranberries with “New New York” in which they exclaimed they had “Nothing To Say” over and over, even though they recorded an entire song about the event. Lyrics such as “I get down on my knees and pray, for the heroes of the day” showed how “talented” The Cranberries were at penning lyrics. Amazing rhymes, Dolores.
There was also weirdy-beardy Toby Kieth, who released “Courtesy Of The Red, White, And Blue”. With lyrics like “…You’ll be sorry that you messed with The U.S. of A. ‘Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass, It’s the American way” it wasn’t surprising that in a dystopian USA, this shit-fest peaked at Number 1 on the Billboard Charts over the July 4th Weekend that year. It seemed that only the Dixie Chicks had a problem with Keith’s atrocious militaristic lyrics. God Bless AmeriKKKa.
(Clicking on the video below will result in Toby Keith getting some royalties, so just take my word for it, the song is complete shite)…
There was also the weird case of Neil Young, who despite featuring on many protest songs including “Ohio” (about the Kent State Shootings) in the seventies, wrote a weirdly pro-government track “Let’s Roll”. I guess it was okay to be critical of Nixon, but we should all believe everything Bush tells us. Weirder still was that four years later, Young released “Let’s Impeach The President”, talk about selling out! Let’s not forget the post 9/11 track however…
This year was more of the same. The mainstream plugged all the hollow garbage ranging from Paul McCartney’s “Freedom” to 50 Cent and Eminem’s “Patiently Waiting”. Meanwhile, in the underground Paris was making his views heard. In the track “What Would You Do?” he rapped “Now ask yourself who’s the one with the most to gain (Bush). ‘Fore 911 motherfuckas couldn’t stand his name (Bush). Now even niggas waivin’ flags like they lost they mind. Everybody got opinions but don’t know the time, ‘cause America’s been took, it’s plain to see. The oldest trick in the book is make an enemy. A phony evil so the government can do it’s dirt, and take away ya freedom lock and load, beat and search”. I remember seeing the CD cover to the Paris’ album “Sonic Jihad” for the first time that year and thinking real Hip-Hop was still alive.
In 2003, from both Hip-Hop and Rock music came two albums which were entirely dedicated and inspired by the events and the atmosphere of that decade. There was NOFX’ “War On Errorism” and Immortal Technique’s “Revolutionary Vol. 2”. The songs “The 4th Branch” and “The Cause Of Death” by Technique perfectly summed up the event itself and the aftermath that followed, but the mainstream had no place for these messages.
2004 And Onward
In 2004, it was all about Kanye West, and as he sold millions of records whilst making flitting remarks about the War On Terror in “Jesus Walks” the mainstream media were again busy ignoring the underground. Jadakiss at least made a push for mainstream with the joint “Why”, and the single line “Why did Bush knock down the towers?” when heard by the masses created a stir. If only they’d heard all the real music from the underground a few years earlier. But while real Artists kept on creating more anti-establishment songs like Cleveland Steamers’ “The Decider” and Roy Shivers “9/11 Inside Job”, the masses still revelled in their great white hype; Eminem.
Eminem’s “Public Enemy #1” featured the crappy and exploitative line “I can feel the tremors tremendous. In remembrance of September 11, flash back to September 7 when Tupac was murdered in Vegas”. Because of Eminem’s popularity during that time, even Immortal Technique’s next song “Bin Laden” sampled the pointless and downright shitty line “Shady Records was 80 seconds away from the towers, some cowards fucked with the wrong building, they meant to hit ours” during its closer. I guess everybody was ready to trivialise their point of view for the taste of success (even though it didn’t work). But forgetting all of Slim Shady’s garbage, let’s remember the great Roy Shivers track…
As an extension of music, the Poet Amiri Baraka wrote a piece about the September 11th Attacks called “Somebody Blew Up America”. Following this poem, there was an attempt to remove Baraka from his post of Poet Laureate of New Jersey, and after some corrupt bending of the law, legislation was introduced in the State Senate to abolish the post itself. This was signed into law in 2003, and Baraka ceased being Poet Laureate. This proved that all forms of art were being quashed after 9/11, but I guess we should all be proud of the freedom we have. Thomas Jefferson once said “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” but after September 11th the people of good conscience voiced their opinion but were made silent, and tyranny did indeed gain a foothold.
Stand-Up Comedians seemed to revel in their newly approved target following 9/11. Collectively, these clowns seemed to use the event as an excuse to vent every racial stereotype they ever harboured by slightly tweaking their jokes so to fit in with this climate of “acceptable prejudice”. But stranger than the typical white male heterosexual telling hate-based stand-up, ethnic minorities began to for the first time in comedy history; side with the white majority.
Martin Lawrence in his show “Runteldat” was one of the first to kiss Caucasian ass. He exclaimed “I ain’t seen black and white people together since Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney did Ebony And Ivory”. For somebody who appeared in films like “Do The Right Thing”, “Life”, and “Nothing To Lose” and who in each of these films showed how African Americans were treated as second-class citizens and were the focus of racism by white Americans; after 9/11 Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence became a friend to his white “oppressors” and began mocking the next minority quicker than you could say “German sell-out”.
When talking about boarding a plane in his routine he said “When you’re sitting there and talking to your white friend… I don’t know you, but we’re getting on this flight so we might as well be together, ya know what I mean?” he then refers to a “Middle Eastern” guy boarding a plane “Who’s that getting on the motherfucking plane? …Ay yo [Hakhbib?] Don’t start no shit when we get on the motherfucking plane… We ain’t done shit, don’t start nothing, ‘cause the white boy can wrestle and i can box motherfucker, he’d tackle your ass and I’ll punch the fuck out you!” Wow, I guess back-to-back Big Momma movies is the prize for sucking up to white people. What a result for Lawrence.
Next up was Eddie Griffin who seemed to love being racist whilst reinforcing racist language. The amount of times he said the word “nigga” in his routine it began to sound like “nigger”. But I digress; his 9/11 influenced set went something like this:
“We leavin’ Boston, we get on a plane, we seen one of them Osama motherfuckers… I know now how white people look at niggas. White people I understand. ’cause I never thought I would be racist but I see that towel… nigga nervous now… This is when I found out that America was starting to work on racism, cause I called a huddle. The red neck came over, the Latino brother came over, even a little Asian dude showed up”. Wow excluding a race and stereotyping them is “working on racism” according to Griffin? What a fucking twat.
Then there was Carlos Mencia’s almost constant racist tirades against Middle Eastern people. If it wasn’t for his stereotypical Latin accent, you’d swear it was somebody from a Ku Klux Komedy Show.
And just when you thought it was safe on stage, out came Jeff Dunham with his puppet character “Achmed, The Dead Terrorist” who like Mencia made fun of the guttural speech sounds in Arabic language; “How do you spell your name?” asks Dunham. The puppet replies “A… C….. phlegm”. Now, was that mocking terrorists, or mocking Muslim names? Did an entire region of the word deserve this kind of prejudice? It seemed that during the years that followed September 11th, everybody was fine with racism in Stand-Up as long as the scorn remained focussed on the Middle East.
People are always quick to defend Comedy, especially Stand-Up Comedy. To those fuckers, I say what if the tables were turned? So if Jeff Dunham had a puppet called “Ishmael the dead child soldier” which looked like the corpse of an African boy carrying a machete or rifle. The horrid lines “Silence… I kill you!” wouldn’t be so widely laughed at in that case, would they?
And what’s the difference between a white person saying something like “you all look alike” and Eddie Griffin saying “one of those Osama motherfuckers” (when referring to any person with a brown complexion wearing a turban)? Would Martin and Eddie sit back and take that kind of shit from a white Stand-Up Comedian, would they be okay if for instance a Latin act made jokes about black people being “thieves” or “thugs”?
What if Carlos Mencia sat to watch an Arab Stand-Up who constantly made jokes about “border-jumping, bean-eating, menial workers”. Would he laugh at his name being mocked and reduced to a racist sound? Would he be okay if everybody from Mexico down to Argentina and Chile was grouped into one big “Latin” group? Would he be okay if he was called a “terrorist” because of the various aircraft hijackings by Cuban Terrorists, or so-called Terrorist Organizations such as The National Liberation Army in Columbia or Shining Path in Peru? If not, why was it okay the other way around?
It seems that acceptable-racism has slowly become extended to all “brown” people from Eastern Europe all the way to the edges of Asia thanks to 9/11. I guess when Bill Maher said Americans couldn’t tell the difference between Middle-Eastern people in a routine back in the noughties, this would remain the truth for many years to come. But hey, jokes are just a bit of fun; they shouldn’t be censored. I would agree with that, but this particular brand of prejudice comedy was just plain unfunny.
Fashion And Other Stuff
Back in the nineties, only a right-wing fool, or a racist prick would be caught wearing the American flag. But after 9/11 because of the xenophobia created by the right-wing, every prat began wearing red, white, and blue. I distinctly remember anybody who looked “Middle Eastern” (whether they were or not) over the days that followed, made a point of wearing a hat, bandanna, badge, or t-shirt bearing the US Flag, like some reverse Nazi Yellow Patch. It was a weird way of declaring “I’m not a terrorist” to the public at large who was beginning to vent anger towards anybody with a brown complexion. Indeed following September 11th, various ethnic minorities ranging from Sikhs to actual Muslims were attacked, beaten, and even killed because of their appearance. What a great free society we all live in.
On top of all the star and stripe camouflage, it was when celebrities embraced the flag that was the most sickening, especially on their clothing. When Ras Kass rapped “Jews don’t salute the fuckin’ swastika, but niggas pledge allegiance to the flag that accosted ya” in “Nature Of The Threat” back in 1996, I bet he never envisaged idiotic Rappers wearing the flag only five years later. Back in 1991 it was commercially-approved Hip-Pop acts like Vanilla Ice who were seen draped in the American Flag, but after 9/11 people began seeing so-called credible Rappers not only wave but wear the Star-Spangled Banner. In reality any fucker who has ever adorned themselves with this flag was about as credible as Vanilla Ice. Don’t believe anything the Music Industry tells you; these acts weren’t anti-establishment and therefore weren’t real Hip-Hop, they were all Pop acts masquerading as Rappers. Fuck them all.
Aside from the fashion faux-pas, there was a new norm that was being created to unleash on the free-thinking public. The next few years after 9/11, the idea that all Conspiracy Theorists were foolish idiots was born. When people had an inkling about the conspiracy surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy in the seventies, eighties, and nineties it was pretty much taken as read. But anybody who believed that 9/11 was “an inside job” was ridiculed and chastised to the point of coercion. By extension, every conspiracy that has ever existed has since been mocked under the same banner, from the Apollo Moon Landings, Roswell, Vaccinations and Autism, AIDS, Lady Diana’s Death, 7/7, The Boston Bombings, and The Murder of Lee Rigby have all come under public scrutiny and derision. Say anything to the contrary in regards to any of these events now, and watch how quick you’ll be called a “conspiracy nut”.
To support this idea, the media served up various “crazy” or “stupid” celebrities who associated with the 9/11 Conspiracy. For example Spencer and Heidi Pratt of The Hills fame, pot-smoking Willie Nelson, and the “wacky” Charlie Sheen.
The mockers of so-called Conspiracy “Kooks” and “Nutjobs” however fail to acknowledge all the times that a Conspiracy has turned out to be true. We have had the MKUltra, COINTELPRO, Iran-Contra, Operation Gladio, the Manhattan Project, Watergate, Tuskegee, Operation Northwoods, Gulf Of Tonkin, Operation Mockingbird, Karen Silkwood, and Operation Paperclip to name but a few. They were all true; so why all the contempt by the mainstream when many of their so-called conspiracy theories have turned out to be more true than many state-controlled news stories? It’s not as though I agree with all the conspiracies concerning 9/11, but why lambaste anybody for having a different or an “out there” opinion?
The mainstream media has moulded and formed almost all of popular culture since 9/11. And although a brave few aired their suspicions and opinions about the event, the few were drowned out by the many. The result was a complete whitewash of sub-culture and counter-culture. The West became a nation of robots fed by robots; the government mislead the media, the media mislead the people, the people mislead the people, and everybody was happy to act like sheep. When Thomas Jefferson said “History, in general, only informs us what bad government is”, little did he know that this would be the truth some two hundred years in the future. In fact, this will probably be true so long as there is a government. Now that more than a decade has passed since the events of 9/11, history informs us not only what bad government is; but what bad film, bad broadcasting, bad news, bad television, bad music, and even what bad fashion is. Never Forget.
War On Error.