A new album of composer Steve Reich’s music, performed by the Kronos Quartet, is stirring controversy. The album cover uses an iconic September 11 photo of the second plane just before it crashes into the World Trade Center. Reich’s composition, WTC 9/11 deals precisely with the September 11 Attacks, so the choice of photo seems entirely appropriate from a historian’s point of view. Yet, the album cover has already been criticized by some viewers, who regard it as shocking and offensive.
NPR discusses this story online. Graduate students who took my recent course, HIST 640 Religious Violence in Comparative Perspective, will be interested in this story. The story also is important for students working on commemoration and historical memory.