Artists Respond to 9/11

Listeners On Air

Friday, August 19, 2011

The 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks is approaching, and Studio 360 is putting together a list of the best books, music, movies, and other works of art that have responded to those events. And we want to know what you think should be highlighted.

Listener Josh Plock from Columbus, Georgia, was inspired by the way his comic book heroes stepped up to fight terrorism. Captain America, “the star-spangled avenger who first started out fighting Hitler, was now fighting terrorists.”

Stacey Kerr from Santa Rosa, California, finds comfort listening to the song September 11 at the Shambhala Center” by the Roche Sisters. The lyrics tell the frightened listener to “look up at the big no end ..don’t lose your nerve.” “It’s just so healing, so perceptive, and so compassionate,” Kerr explains. “It’s just so brave.”

What would you add to the list?

Tell us — and see suggestions from other listeners.


Comments [6]

The One Who Lived -A Fable Against Grief, is an online graphic novel in blog form, reminiscent of Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame or Artie Spiegelman’s Maus: A Survivor’s Tale. The story is a boy-meets-girl tale set in New York City around the events of the World Trade Center disaster. The book is a modern myth about love and redemption amidst chaos.
The reader will open the blog site at the end and will have to page backwards to the begining.

Sep. 08 2011 10:15 AM
Amy Myslik from Kingston, NY

The performance artist and comedian Reno wrote and performed a funny and heart warming piece called Rebel without a Pause. She tells the story of her experience dealing with other New Yorkers the day of the attack with sharp wit, not holding anything back. Be careful to not choose "Reno 911" when searching, altho well worth watching for other reasons.

Aug. 22 2011 03:10 PM

Along the same lines as the previous comment regarding David Letterman's shows right after the attack: I'll never forget the September 26, 2001 issue of The Onion. They didn't publish for a week, and came back with some amazing articles with headlines like "Holy F#&@ing S#!7, Attack on America," "Not knowing what else to do, woman bakes American flag cake," "President urges calm, restraint among America's ballad singers," and of course, "Report: Gen X irony, cynicism may be permanently obsolete." After two weeks of depressing news and talk of the death of irony, it was a wonderful catharsis to read brilliant satire that made me laugh and cry.

Aug. 22 2011 01:09 AM
Daryl from Washington, D.C.

The song, for me, that stands the test of time as an amazing song in its own right, much less being a great work expressing the personal and broad experience of the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, is Peter Gabriel's song, I Grieve. Musically the song evolves from a rather intimate perspective to a more public one and back again. It captures the emotional reaction to the loss and traumatic event and yet expresses it against the broader philosophical reality. It comes across as powerful in its simplicity and timeless in its truth.

Aug. 20 2011 02:58 PM
John Mattie from Pittsburgh

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," Art Spiegelman's unsettling black on black New Yorker cover, the unexpected poignancy of Ronald Moore's "Battlestar Galactica," seeing the Flaming Lips and Lucinda Williams respond on stage just a few days after in very different ways. But for me, the one piece of "art" that has stuck with me over the years was the incredibly humble and brave performance by David Letterman in his first shows back on the air after the attacks. His candor, resolve and welcome silliness became one of the few logical and comforting responses to the madness we were seeing each day, each minute. For so many years, Letterman had used New York City as the butt of so many jokes, but for weeks afterwards, his unadulterated pride and pain in his city came through each night. It was beautiful and sad and healing.

Aug. 20 2011 02:52 PM
Jane from San Francisco

Two novels:

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer was, in my opinion, the first novel to use the events of that day in a way that meant something universal and at the same time acutely personal. Throughout the book, the young boy, searching for meaning in the loss of his father, meets person after person who tells him their own story of loss and grief, in a way that allows him, and therefore the reader, to contextualize his loss.

The Zero, by Jess Walter, gives a view of the effects of the events on first responders and the effects of the aftermath on marketing and politics in a way that is no less challenging for being wildly funny in places. Walter's characters talk past each other and misconstrue plain words in much the same way that public figures talked past the events, telling us to go shopping so that the terrorists wouldn't "win." This book is unforgettable (and was a National Book Award finalist), and is only made better in the recent paperback version that includes Walter's journal notes while he was writing it.

Aug. 18 2011 08:42 PM

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