An Anti-Consumerist Take on 9/11


There are a variety of 9/11 remembrances around the internet today, most of them of the expected sort. There are invitations to tell 9/11 stories, political angles, architectural angles, environmental angles, multicultural angles, man-in-the-streets, leftish and rightist takes, photo essays, and so forth.

Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York has a different approach. He starts, “September 11 changed us,” but after the traditional observation of New York’s heightened post-attack “cohesiveness,” he says that “The personality of this city changed as ‘Consume!’ became New York’s anxious war cry.”

He cites a paper which finds “that when many people think about their own death they tend to eat, drink, and shop more… Marketers know all about this dynamic and they use it to sell products. Just as our politicians have used 9/11 to sell themselves and their policies, stoking the fears of an insecure populace.”

Jeremiah attributes the post-9/11 character of the city, and its increased population and tourist traffic, to anxieties fed by the War on Terror. “New York must have begun looking like an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord to the insecure and fearful across America,” he says. “And they flocked to come feed themselves, too.

“It amazed me that after 9/11, more people came to New York than left, as if terror exerted a strange attraction.”


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