When the going gets tough, the tough go photoshopping: September 11 and the newslore of vengeance and victimization

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Abstract

The terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11 2001 inspired an outpouring of electronic folklore, particularly 'photoshops' (humorous digitally-altered photographs). This material is of two types. One, the newslore of vengeance, consists of fantasies of annihilation or humiliation aimed at Osama bin Laden or Afghanistan. The other, the newslore of victimization, expresses bewilderment at the role of fate or chance in who lived and died on that terrible day. This article analyzes the newslore of September 11 in light of Elliott Oring's 'unspeakability' hypothesis: the material expresses emotions that were too raw to be covered in the news media and thus functions as both an outlet for those emotions and a protest against the decorousness of the press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-658
Number of pages26
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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