“Everyone knows America is strong, but that’s not what it has to be” said Associate professor of English, Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt at her talk “The Anxious Canon: Post 9/11 Literatures.” Dutt-Ballerstadt discussed how the United States has created a “literary missile,” in response to all of the books, magazines, newspapers, movies, and other forms of media that have created an industry off of the 9/11 attacks.
Dutt-Ballerstadt presented pictures that featured the nine emotional states in Indonesian culture.
Most of the men that expressed the nine emotional states were all bearded, and dark skinned. Naturally, they must be terrorists. Ballerstadt expressed how the United States have created and released this “war on terror” canon that seems to be never ending.
If people see someone that looks like how the men were described, they believe that they must be terrorists because of what society has come to believe.
The power of color was also heavily discussed. “The New Yorker” published their September 24, 2001 issue with a blank black cover.
Was this because the entirety of New York City was covered in ash, or because of the possible color of the skin of those who committed the attacks? Dutt-Ballerstadt went on to say that Marvel comic magazine also issued a blank cover in their first issue after 9/11.
The magazine issue featured Marvel characters reactions to the 9/11 attacks. Dutt-Ballerstadt presented her lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 in Riley 201.
The unleashed canon has influenced much paranoia in the U.S. government. Since the attacks on September 11, 2001, the U.S. government has limited the size of bottles, and carry-on items allowed on airplanes amongst other things.
If travelers that are bearded and dark skinned wish to board an airplane it is more than likely security will do more of a check on them because of the almost hysterical paranoia that has engulfed the U.S. government. Dutt-Ballerstadt expressed that “Terrorism is a phenomena, terrorism has no country.”
The Muslim community was deeply affected after 9/11 attacks. American society began to believe that if someone wears a turban and has a beard they must be a Muslim.
Muslims were told to not leave their home or go to mosques as the F.B.I. was waiting outside their doors and at the mosques to see if the religious folks were also terrorists.
Dutt-Ballerstadt went into detail on methods used to torture inmates at the infamous Guantanamo bay prison.
Those that were interrogated about the 9/11 attacks were sometimes awakened in the night, or had offensive statements whispered in their ears in hopes of making them feel like commenting on if they took any part in the attacks, amongst many other forms of torture.
A form of “light torture” was having inmates listen to pop star, Christina Aguilera for hours on end. The U.S. began a practice of detaining individuals and deporting them as a way to get rid of terrorism.
Dutt-Ballerstadt presented powerful insights on this important topic and expressed a question, stating, “Who are the barbarians? Those that are tortured, or those who torture?”
Jonathan Williams / Opinion editor
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