Friday, September 11, 2009

Photos of the Disaster

When I started this blog over four years ago 9/11 was a regular category of content when it came to political ephemera online and how people imagined interactivity in the context of the Internet's modes of participatory culture. Each year, 9/11 moves farther from what was once its central role in Internet discourse. The year I taught this seminar on the rhetoric of September 11th on the Internet, I had three colleagues teaching similar classes.

This year several people have pointed to this Flash video with music by Enya, which was posted on the URL that houses the September 11 Digital Archive. This defense of former president George W. Bush and its patriotic posturing seems a strange choice for a site supported by the American Social History Project and the Center for History and New Media, which are known for their progressive intellectual agendas.

The provenance of the video is difficult to locate, since it doesn't even do much to cite its visual sources, with the exception of acknowledging the copyright on a famed photo of firefighters raising the flag. We see a credit to "Steve" at, but the URL is now defunct and only serves as a portal to opportunistic advertising. Several people have thanked Alan Charles Kors of the University of Pennsylvania history faclty, for publicizing this video. In his Wikipedia article, Kors is shown receiving a medal from former President Bush, and he is known for his accusations of liberal bias and hegemony on campus from his affiliations with the conservative campus group The Fire.

Yet, given the fact that the site easily refers visitors to polemical animated anti-Bush content from Flash animator Mark Fiore, collecting political ephemera from elsewhere in the political spectrum should seem to be part of the archive's core mission.

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