"The Two Towers" Protest
I was reading John Hawkins' Right Wing News, when I caught sight of his Dumb Website of the Day: The Two Towers Protest Site. They are protesting the second installment of the LOTR trilogy being named "The Two Towers."
The Two Towers Protest Organization ( www.twotowersprotest.org ) is made up of a group of like minded individuals who were greatly affected by the events that transpired on Sept 11th 2001. The owner of this website considers himself to be a facilitator for the sentiments which have already been expressed by people such as Kevin Klerck who set up the two towers petition on petitiononline.com.
I don't typically get into this, because I don't believe that the very direct impact the 9/11 attack had on me gives me any more standing to comment on it than anyone else. We were all affected by it. However, as this group has used it presumably as giving them greater authority to speak on the issue of sensitivity, I believe it is fair of me to use it in critique.
I worked on the 96th floor of Tower One of the World Trade Center until the day terrorists crashed a plane into the very floors I and my colleagues worked on. I was not in my office when the plane hit. Had I been, I would be dead. No one who was on any of our floors in Tower One when the attack occurred survived. Fortunately all our colleagues from our sister companies who worked in Tower Two did survive. Not one of them listened to the admonition to go back to their desks. All in all, my company lost over 300 people that day. I knew about 100 of them, some quite well. I think it's fair to say that I was "greatly affected by the events that transpired on Sept 11th 2001." I grieve along with the members of this group. I am inexpressibly sorry for their losses. It was a tragic, horrible, senseless thing to live through.
Nevertheless, I cannot agree with them that "The Two Towers" should have been renamed. I cannot agree with them when they say "We believe that Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema's actions are in fact hate speech. The movie is intentionally being named The Two Towers in order to capitalize on the tragedy of September 11. Clearly, you cannot deny the fact that this falls under hate speech. We believe that if they will not willingly change the name, the government should step in to stop the movie's production or to force a name change." In fact, that accusation is demonstrably false. The movie was completed before the attacks ever occurred. All three films in the trilogy were completed at the same time. Principal filming was finished in January, 2001, 9 months before the attacks. The names simply coincide with the names of the books, as was intended from the beginning of the project. When filming began in 1999, it was already known what the three movies would be called.
But even if that were not the case, the film was still named after a book which was written over 50 years ago. We cannot be forever sheltered from reminders of those events. Even if the name of the movie were changed, and Jackson did consider it last year (he decided against it because he understood that Tolkien enthusiasts would be upset if he did), the book is still in mass publication. Every time we walk into a bookstore, we run the risk of seeing it. Especially around the release time of any of the movies. The world goes on. Life goes on. People will talk about the attack. Books have been and will continue to be written about it. Eventually a movie will be made about it. There will always be reminders. We should not seek to prevent these things. Sensitivity is fine, but life must go on. We must let it. If we do not, we will doom ourselves for the sake of sensitivity.