Monday, December 14, 2015

English Final: 9/11's Most Controversial Photo

Taken on the most devastating day in recent history, Thomas Hoepker's photo of the five teenagers relaxing by the blue waters has caused mass controversy between millions of people. Why? Because even after all these years, this photo still iconic because of what the teens are doing, or what they aren't doing. The blazing flames of The Twin Towers are right behind them in the horizon but they either don't notice or don't care about the thousands of people behind them. Frank Rich wrote in the New York Times, "The young people in Mr. Hoepker's photo aren't necessarily callous, they're just American." The picture troubled many Americans as they noticed that their kids just don't care about many things or are just simple "Americans". They are not conforming to what many of us think is reasonable or what we think we should do when thousands of people are dying right behind us. What "normal" people think is reasonable is the shocked and horrified faces of the teenagers looking at the towers. Instead, they have five teenagers doing the opposite of that, just chilling by the river talking with each other.

 The most horrifying thing about this was that this photo was released five years after the 9/11 attacks. Many people would think that they would do the same thing instead of doing the "reasonable" thing. After fourteen years, there will still be people who will not conform and do the "reasonable" thing. The whole country was distraught by the event and five people who were the closest to it didn't care? That is what most people would think about the people in the picture but to me, there should not be judgment or any opinion going around, there will always be people who do not conform to society's "reasonable" actions and that is not always a bad thing. Many people do not conform to the ideals of other people but actually conform to themselves and what they believe is right and standard to their beliefs. But, what is fact is that on that day, thousands of people died because of the 9/11 attacks. People should be more focused on that component of that day, not judging the people in the photo.
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1 comment:

  1. Alan, You're right this is the most distressing day in recent UNITED STATES history. The pressure to conform may be seen in the judgment of many viewers who demand a certain kind of performance without knowing the attitudes or motivations of the unwitting subjects of this photo.