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Mourning, Monomyth and Memorabilia: Consumer Logics of Collecting 9/11

Chapter

Abstract

It is not easy to find a line on the mass of cultural contradictions that is the sale of September 11 memorabilia on eBay.com. It is tempting to fasten on the religiosity, the heavy moral seriousness, that pass without reflection in reference to the event. “God bless America,” “the memory of those lost,” “this day of infamy”: these compressed verbal formulae appear everywhere in the eBay material and are as ripe for ideological analysis as they would be in any other context. What kinds of closure do they exert over our memory of the event? How do they work to stitch the disasters of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon into narratives of American history and destiny? What function do they play in America’s engagement—or lack thereof—with the rest of the world?

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Notes

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© Dana Heller 2005

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