A Psychoanalytic Analysis of Post 9/11 America

2 min readSep 7, 2021

In modern American history, no moment sparks such fervent patriotism and national unity as the September IIth attacks on the World Trade Center. Culturally, the impact those planes had (both literally and figuratively) on the next decade would be unthinkable for anyone born prior to the events; in fact a form of AD, BC time signature has been born out of in the pre/post 9/II dichotomy.

The events also led to a catastrophe beyond the damaged patriotism of Americans. The subsequent invasions to the Middle East and the war on terror brought some of the worst actions of American exceptionalism and “world police’’ ideology. To this, Americans love 9/II. They love the videos of it. In a purely fascistic way, they love the feeling of national unity against the common enemy (the Muslim in this instance replaced the jew of the Nazis) and backing the state, after 9/II Bush had a near 100 percent approval rate. There is a purely libidinal attachment to 9/II in American society. It permitted America to act as they pleased in the middle east as it was seen as a retribution for the attack in New York carried out by terrorists, and no matter how many of “them” died it was justifiable because of 9/II. The drive towards fascism was fully realized in post 9/II society.

Yet this wound in the flesh of America had been fully capitalized. Endless movies, tv shows, mini-series, documentaries, docu-dramas, and so on have been made to repeat the same images we see from that day. Americans are not only addicted to but are sexually driven by the September IIth attacks as it gives the image of control. It represents the very national wound needed to catapult a nation into fascistic totalitarianism, to which we have never fully recovered. The ability to view Muslims, and Islam in its totality as a form of “other” who is to be dominated by whatever means necessary was driven libidinally, it was a purely sexual drive. This is further exemplified by the nature of films and depictions of 9/II. The events are beefed up to add action, we make 9/II more tragic, more dramatic, more maraouse than the actual event, hence changing the meaning of the attack. To this, a false war is drawn, between “terrorists’’ and freedom, liberty, free trade, and so on. The bombing of one group of innocents becomes justified in the sense they, by association, are guilty of infringing on the inalienable rights of man. America has made 9/II pornographic, a planned and totally specular event. We are meant to recognize ourselves in the attack, we are supposed to have an Imaginary association with it. 9/II is outside our concept of “political.” It is entertainment par-excellence.