Michael Stipe Reflects On Sept. 11 Attacks In Recent Column
Yesterday (Sept. 10), the Guardian ran an essay penned by R.E.M. frontmant Michael Stipe in which he reflects on our country's attitude in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the article, Stipe references artwork by Douglas Coupland and recounts the moment when he heard about the attacks and how America's general populace reacted in the period afterward. Read the entire piece here.
Stipe criticized America's anger toward France after the French government disagreed with the U.S. decision to invade Iraq. He brought up the trend of replacing the word "French" with "freedom" in everyday American phrases.
Every time I see the Freedom Tower, I think of “freedom fries” – the term coined when the US wanted to invade Iraq, and France objected. Anything attached to the word “French” in the US was then relabelled with the word “freedom”: freedom toast, freedom fries, freedom kiss, for f---’s sake. ... It was a disastrous response—a horrid turn on the formerly leftist act of boycotting as protest.
Stipe also wrote about Coupland's art, which is composed of a series of black dots arranged in such a manner that they form now-infamous images from the aftermath of 9/11.
Coupland’s at first seemingly Op Art paintings are just black dots – abstract, weirdly familiar. But then you look at them on your iPhone (because you’re going to take a pic and post it … this is 2014, after all) and you have the ahhhhhhh moment when a chill runs down your spine and you realise that it’s them: the jumpers. It’s him: the boogeyman. Doug offers us the choice to either see or not see these deeply internalised images. Having that choice is what enables us to survive from day to day without going nuts.
Stipe's essay is taken from the book 'Douglas Coupland: Everywhere is Anywhere is Anything is Everthing,' a collection of Coupland's artwork accompanied by critiques of his work. The book is set to be released in the U.S. October 14.