Is it OK to satirise September 11th?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by AL, Aug 29, 2002.

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  1. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    As we near the anniversary of September 11th terror attacks, I thought I bring out a point, which has started to create some tension, most recently at the Edinburgh Fringe and before in an Observer Special. A lot of people are still affected by the attacks of last year; and a lot of people still regard it as a taboo to joke about or satirise the atrocities.

    Now I consider the September 11th attacks as possibly one of the most important world events of the past 100 years. I also find the atrocity a despicable act of terrorism, and as a person who has been a victim of many a terrorist attack, both personally and in a slightly larger scale, I share no sympathy for terrorists. Nevertheless, I also do not agree with the way the US has been handling hersef in the wake of the disaster and I believe your leader has proven himself to be a rash and immature statesmen with delusions of grandeur.

    In that respect, I find satire to be one of the most potent weapons towards both and believe that it is high time we started doing it towards the events of and following 11/09/2001. I would like to get the opinons of other before venturing into the knitty-gritties of the issue.

    PS. Here is the link to the Observer special which created a lot of controversy in the UK. Sample joke:

    Bush cheers American nation by launching Operation Death Unto Allah. Concern from coalition partners that this might constitute some sort of gaffe.


    Terror's March Backwards
  2. obhavekenobi78 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 5
    I think it depends on how far the satire is taken and at which aspect it is ultimately directed. Making fun of Bush or Bin Laden can be funny and usually doesn't stir up to much negative reaction. However, I think satire realted to the actual incident, the killing of thousands, that is, would most certainly be in poor taste. Comparably, people make fun of Hitler, but poking fun at the Holocaust explicitly would be bad form, in my opinion.
  3. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    It's too early to make jokes about it. It's still in the memory of all Americans. If you wait a generation or 2 it will pass. And then IMO can you joke about it...
  4. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    It's satirize in the US and satirise in the UK, mon cher. America is not the only place where the English language is spoken, you know?

    And I don't agree with the passing of time argument. There are a lot of people who are still alive that were affected by the Second World War and the Holocaust and we can make jokes about them. If melodrama or tragedy can tackle a serious issue, then why can't comdey?
  5. obhavekenobi78 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 5
    AL,

    If you lost a loved one, say your mother. Would you find it humorous to hear someone poke fun at her? I know I wouldn't, especially shortly after her passing. Realize that thousands of people were killed in cold blood. It's going to take America a long time to get over it and most of us are not blessed with the proverbial "dry" sense of humour (humor, if you like) that is present in the UK. We tend to take things like this seriously. I know I do.
  6. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    First of all, I am going to ignore the crypto-racist and patronising thoughts inherent in the above post and move straight into the point.

    I am not advicating making fun of people who died there but a sense of stire and adult comedy regarding the entire event, which, when professionally handled, is not only meaningful but also comic. I find the tie-ins, like the slew of albums that everyone and their mother is trying to bring out to coincide with the anniversary of the attacks far more insulting to the event and the memories of the victims than the Edinburgh Fringe jokes can possibly achieve.

    Further, you have to realise that there were a slew of non-Americans who died in the attacks too, including many of British, German and Turkish descent: three countries with which I have a personal bond so it is ludicrous to suggest a non-attachment towards thevent from anyone but Americans in general, and New Yorkers in particular.
  7. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    America is not the only place where the English language is spoken, you know?

    :eek: You're kidding right!!! OMG I didn't know that!

    It's satirize in the US and satirise in the UK, mon cher

    Actually I think it's the opposite satirize is British - English. While satirise is American - English.

    I checked it in my dictionary ;)

    the Holocaust and we can make jokes about them.

    True, but they didn't make the jokes a year after the WWII ;)

    I took time before the jokes came...
  8. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    The movie starts out with two guys walking on the streets of New York. It's very light-hearted and ha-ha.

    Suddenly a large airplane careens through the air and impales itself in one of the World Trade Center towers. Big explosions.

    Guy #1: "I bet he gets his pilot license revoked! Ha ha!"
    Guy #2: "Hey there's another one airplane, careening out of control! Bad day for walking without an umbrella eh? Warning, falling debris! Ha ha!"
    Guy #1: "I bet they make a movie about it!"

    Then the towers collapse, and they keep having fun while thousands of people die in one of the more tragic and dramatic events in the 20th century.

    Umm, no [face_plain]
  9. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    Omega, better check that dictionary again my friend: I assure you that your dyslexia is playing games on you.

    Starfire, that is a tasteless joke and you have proven my point. We are talking about serious satire on the entire event, we are not taking about the people who got killed that day.

    Satire is a fine and necessary thing, to take aim at the over-ripe target which is the portentous, manipulative solemnity surrounding the horrific events of last September.

    It had been 'the thing' months before 9/11 never to smile, or to joke, except a bit nervously, self-consciously - as one might, for example, at the boss's jokes. And never, never to act, or to say anything silly. Silly is out. The result of September 11th has only been to exacerbate this affected bleak style, and to spread it far beyond Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers to the entire New York area, and probably beyond, including our shores. That 11/9 satire boldly goes against the grain of all this mostly fake, solemn pretension, is one of the only reasons I enjoy it. Let us have more of this; I know it's boring to hear it again, but laughter is still very therapeutic.

    (this is a game, let's see if you can figure it out)
  10. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    Laughter is therapeutic, but some things should never be laughed at.
  11. obhavekenobi78 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 5
    "First of all, I am going to ignore the crypto-racist and patronising thoughts inherent in the above post and move straight into the point."

    Crypto-Racist? Please. I don't even know where you are going with that. Would you mind elaborating?
  12. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    Laughter is therapeutic, but some things should never be laughed at.

    The chaos that ensued following the event within the Bush administration and the American military regarding the whereabouts of Bin Laden was funny in itself.

    And that came from the top, only a week after the evnt itself...
  13. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    The chaos that ensued following the event within the Bush administration and the American military regarding the whereabouts of Bin Laden was funny in itself.

    So ... make a movie about Bush and company fumbling around and generally acting like idiots?

    Why? They were doing a darn good job at a time where nobody knew much of anything.
  14. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6

    Omega, better check that dictionary again my friend: I assure you that your dyslexia is playing games on you.


    rechecked in antoher dictionary. It is satirize (all those dictionaries are UK - English)

    And my dyslexia is not playing games with me...

    The chaos that ensued following the event within the Bush administration and the American military regarding the whereabouts of Bin Laden was funny in itself.

    true :p
  15. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    StarFire, are you going to keep up with the intellectually challenged jingoistic diatribe or are you going to argue your point with factos and well thought out opinion pieces? Enquiring minds want to know.

    According to A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles Volume VIII which was edited by Sir James Murray, LL.D. in 1901, both versions are acceptable in the English language. So there we go, we were both right or both wrong: it truly depends on one's philosophical perspective.

  16. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    StarFire, are you going to keep up with the intellectually challenged jingoistic diatribe or are you going to argue your point with factos and well thought out opinion pieces?

    I like how you chained four big words in one sentence; it sounds pretty intellectual for an insult, though it how it applies to me I'll never know.

    My opinion on the matter is, why make a satire about 9/11? So people can laugh? People will laugh a lot more easily at other material.

    Some events in history should be recognized as solemn moments, times when bad things happened, but people stood up to be counted, ready to do what they could to help.

    Why would you make a satire of 9/11? What exactly would you satirize?
  17. obhavekenobi78 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 5
    As if their is not an exponential load of political satire directed at America and George Bush already.
  18. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    We should be inhibited about criticising any aspect of US policy, or that the subject is automatically off-limits for jokes or cartoons. Disssent is vital during difficult times and I applaud it, especially when it comes as well thought out satire.

    And surely, the reason there is so much vitriolic satire towards the US and Bush has something to do with the way the US and Bush have been handling the situation post-Sepetember 11th...
  19. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    So now this is about criticizing Bush and his administration? And you want to make a whole movie about it?

    Next time just say so and save us all a lot of time.

  20. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    When did I say I want to make a film about it? Does satire automatically equal a motion picture? Are you deliberately trying not to understand the point at hand? The comment I made towards Bush was in answer to an earlier post and is only a part of the far greater picture.
  21. StarFire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    star 4
    Whoops. My American intellect gets the better of me once again. I wasn't contradicted the first time I mentioned a movie, so I made a bad assumption. My apologies.

    If the comment you made about Bush is in reply to another post, then I'm still eagerly awaiting an answer to my question.

    Why do you want to make a satire of 9/11? What exactly would you satirize?

    Are you deliberately trying not to understand the point at hand?

    Is this a rhetorical question?
  22. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    Why do you want to make a satire of 9/11? What exactly would you satirize?

    As I have posted above:

    -to take aim at the over-ripe target which is the portentous, manipulative solemnity surrounding the horrific events of last September.

    It had been 'the thing' months before 9/11 never to smile, or to joke, except a bit nervously, self-consciously - as one might, for example, at the boss's jokes. And never, never to act, or to say anything silly. Silly is out. The result of September 11th has only been to exacerbate this affected bleak style, and to spread it far beyond Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers to the entire New York area, and probably beyond, including our shores. That 11/9 satire boldly goes against the grain of all this mostly fake, solemn pretension, is one of the only reasons I enjoy it. Let us have more of this; I know it's boring to hear it again, but laughter is still very therapeutic.

    -To take aim at the Muslim fundementalists who are not only opposed to Israel's occupation of the territories she gained in 1968. They are against the whole state of Israel and that is ripe for satire.

    -To take aim at the Israelis and Palestinisans for acting like the spoiled chidlren that they are, being adamant in their hatred towards any kind of a deal and/or compromise.

    -To take aim at the NATO allies; the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Turkey etc. Some for their unabashed reluctance to seek any kind of a peaceful alternative, and others for being totally blinded by their ultra-liberal thought process. To take aim at the Nato forces who killed much more civilians in Afghanistan than September 11th attacks did in New York.

    -To take aim at the anti-capitalists for their baseless and spineless "arguments" against any possibility of an American action.

    -To take aim at all those people who solely blame America for the event.

    Hence, my appreciation and salutation towards an 11th September satire covers all the aspects of the terrible event and is not influnced directly by my political views.
  23. obhavekenobi78 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 20, 2002
    star 5
    "And surely, the reason there is so much vitriolic satire towards the US and Bush has something to do with the way the US and Bush have been handling the situation post-Sepetember 11th..."

    Well, that is certainly one perspective on the subject. Of course, there are others. The United States has been the topic of interest in the foreign community since it's inception. When a nation is classified as a "Super-Power" it does tend to draw attention, warranted or otherwise.

    Back on topic, there is nothing inherently wrong with satire and your assessment in regards to humour is a widely accepted one. Certain aspects of any situation can be recognizably humourous, but there is a fine line that must be walked when emotions are running high. If you really want to test your opinion, I suggest that you make an attempt at writing a 9/11 satire, maybe you could get it published locally. In fact, you may also post it here and see what sort of reactionary responses are generated. In either case I don't know how much you actually care to have the original question answered. With several of your remarks pointedly jabbing President Bush and his appointed cabinet I do believe that you harbor some level of "ill will" towards them. Certainly, this is only my opinion, do with it what you like.

  24. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5
    Here is a very controversial September 11th piece from two of the UK's finest satirists:

    Terror's march backwards

    An Absolute Atrocity Special by Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris



    September
    9/11: The attacks change forever the British convention for placing the day before the month in dates.

    12th: Washington informs Tony Blair of attack on US.

    13th: The immediate aftermath of the attacks generates fear and paranoia across America. Angry shoppers beat up a woman who's put a towel on her head to dry her hair, while people whose faces look like aeroplanes are subject to 24-hour curfew. Citizens for whom this is 'a bad time' include Tiara Ryzst, Tray Njinkampps, Mo Jardine, Moss Lamb, the Twain-Towers family, and Will and Tray d'Senta.

    14th: Airlines report no one willing to fly. Bush insists this is a sign of defiance and commissions Hollywood to make films in which being scared to go on an aeroplane is an act of bravery. Filming immediately commences on an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie called Absolute Refusal about a businessman who cannot face boarding a plane but heroically makes a meeting in Cairo by crossing the Atlantic on a pedalo.

    16th: Speculation about US retaliation grows. Expert opinion is divided over whether the 'medievalist' regime of Afghanistan should be bombed back to the Stone Age or forward into the twenty-first century. The prevailing Hawk argument runs: 'There's a big stone at the back of the Stone Age and we'll bomb them so hard back into that, they'll bounce all the way forward to 2002.'

    19th: The pop singer Michael Jackson is refused permission to lie down and sing songs from his new album into the World Trade Centre rubble.

    21st: Tony Blair declares that Britain must share in America's pain as Education Secretary Estelle Morris announces plans for children to drop French and instead spend two hours a day chewing gum. And as a mark of respect, all future Prom concerts will feature orchestras using baseball bats instead of bows.

    26th: Bush cheers American nation by launching Operation Death Unto Allah. Concern from coalition partners that this might constitute some sort of gaffe.

    27th: There are delays in sending American special forces to Afghanistan when the entire air force refuse to fly in a plane.

    30th: Twelve days after the collapse of the World Trade Centre, amazed rescue workers uncover an entire office floor that is still doing business. Despite falling 890 feet and being buried under 12,000 tons of rubble, all workers at Leeman Sachs Trading Inc are unharmed. They have remained at their desks since the bank's Tokyo HQ saw television pictures of the burning towers, called them up and ordered them to keep working. 'We were still sitting at our desks when we landed in the rubble,' said one dealer. 'I actually completed three transactions on the way down.' In fact trading at the buried floor has been so good since 11 September, the bank may sue the New York Fire Dept for digging them out.

    October

    3rd: While donations pour into New York, a suppressed report reveals that a huge benefit concert held last month for victims of the Pentagon attack raised just $21. The show, featuring REM, Bon Jovi, Beck and the Rolling Stones, took place in a purpose-built, 50,000-seat arena on the Pentagon lawn but despite saturation advertising only attracted 74 fans. Sources say that the Pentagon attack, already notorious as 'a TV dud', is now badly in need of a relaunch.

    4th: The US public is still so sensitive to images of New York that Woody Allen is forced to remake Manhattan shot for shot but with all views of the city taken out. Furious that the new version, Quebec, will lack resonance, the director comforts himself by giving the part of Diane Keaton to eight 17-year-old girls.

    6th: American Airlines launches a controversial emergency campaign to persuade Americans to fly again. Posters put up in every major American city show a fearful businessman reading a newspaper over the words 'Get the hell out while you can! Australia from $120.'

    7th: Bu
  25. AL Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1998
    star 5

    George Bush September 11th

    O846... At a school in Florida, President George W. Bush is informed of first World Trade Centre crash and quips: 'Nice to see folks so keen to get to work early.'
    O905... Bush is informed of second WTC crash and this time chuckles: 'Phone New York air traffic control and tell them - three strikes and you're out!' This comment fails to capture public mood.

    O906... Emergency conference in school office as aides explain appalling gravity of situation. Through closed doors President is heard screaming: 'Phone Al Gore and tell him he won.'

    0907... He then orders 60 kilos of cocaine and shoots a White House dog for no reason.

    O943... Pentagon attacked.

    O944... White House officials attempt to preserve national control and command structure by slicing off Dick Cheney's head and putting it in a bag of ice cubes.

    Over the next few hours the President is helicoptered to Orlando then airdropped into Vermont. Seizing a jet pack, he blasts himself into the sea off Newfoundland where he is collected by speedboat, hammered unconscious, miniaturised and injected into Laura Bush's foot.

    1323-1412... The nation is unaware that it is being governed by a man who is now smaller than an E.Coli and tumbling around in his wife's aorta.

    1542... President retrieved by mosquito from Laura Bush's thigh and allowed to regain size under morphine during return flight to Washington.

    1612... A cleaner enters White House basement to find the President and George Bush Snr both naked in barrels of crude oil. They are deep in conversation.

    1641...Fortified by constant telephone contact with Larry Hagman, a much calmer Bush chairs war cabinet in Delaware.

    2030...Wearing a lucky Iraqi foot given to him by his father on his lapel, Bush addresses the nation, extends sympathy to the victims and solemnly vows that he will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed the attacks and Arabs.

    ====

    What they said

    'We're all dead Americans now'
    T. Blair

    'Easy, Saladin'
    The Pope

    'Yessssss!'
    First reaction of many British people who subsequently claimed to be appalled

    'I have seen nothing to convince me that all these attacks were not the work of one lone American madman'
    John Pilger

    'This wouldn't have happened if I'd still been on BBC1'
    Noel Edmonds

    'Operation Infinite Enemy is not a war against Islam, it's a war against Muslims'
    George Bush

    'If you run the twin towers footage backwards, the towers stand up again - we need to ask why has the footage only ever been run forwards?'
    Noam Chomsky

    'We are privileged to live in a time when even the world's most TV-hating nation can make brilliant TV'
    Peter Bazalgette

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