“He loses his mustache in 9/11. That’s his character development.”
So, obviously this focus on the destruction of New York is a fixation of Hollywood’s, and of our culture. You fuck with that elegantly, but what do you actually make of that fixation? What is it, and what are its consequences?
This came up at a recent screening: Someone asked “Do you think Hollywood caused 9/11?” This is a vulgar formulation. You can’t say yes or no. It is involved in a complex of causes and effects. Either way, the desire is there. If it didn’t cause 9/11, it wanted 9/11. It gave voice to a broader sort of death-drive on the part of capitalist culture.
Another mistake that that question commits is it places the movies and reality onto different planes. We don’t see any discontinuity. If you could, as a sort of thought experiment, see Unclear Holocaust without being aware of the facts of how 9/11 played out, you wouldn’t see any change in tone in the movie.
The World Trade Center was actually a total scourge on the skyline of New York. Everyone hated it until maybe the mid-90s, when it had enough tenure that it was just there, one had to accept it, it became a tourist icon.
There’s a great Gordon Matta-Clark sketch called The Perfect Horizon – a little children’s drawing of the Twin Towers, crossed out, with a sunset behind it. So when they were actually destroyed, it was this thing that everyone wants until they actually get it, and then it’s too much, it’s horrifying. Your desires scare the shit out of you, and you need security.