The article explores the general theme of historization in regard to the visual representation of 9/11 in U.S. popular culture. The main thesis is that Hollywood and U.S. television were the foremost cultural apparatuses for coping with 9/11—an event that had effectively shattered the symbolic coordinates of prevailing American reality. After some initial probing in 2002 (25th Hour, The Guys), a direct exploration of 9/11 finally emerged in 2005–6, when two major feature films (United 93 and World Trade Center) and a string of TV dramas addressed its background and aftermath. In the years since, the focus has shifted further—to the war in Iraq, the progress of the global war on terror, and the role of the United States in international affairs. Yet 9/11 remains a reference, mainly on the emotional level (The Great New Wonderful, Reign over Me, Remember Me, and Dear John).

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