Philip Kennicott’s assessment of the 9/11 Memorial Museum seemed to take great offense at the museum’s intense focus on what occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, as if recalling the horrors of that day and the identity of those who attacked our nation is in some sort of bad political taste [“Depth of Despair,” Arts & Style, June 8]. Mr. Kennicott mocked the museum’s “Americanist” focus, disparaged the museum’s supposed “patriotic self-glorification and voyeurism, where visitors are allowed to feel personally touched by the deaths of people they didn’t know,” denounced the “little discussion” of “how we are all under surveillance, our phones tapped, our e-mails collected” and objected to the absence of information about “the secret renditions, the systematic use of torture and the prison camps just out of reach of the once-vigorous U.S. Constitution.”
This is not the stuff of artistic criticism but of cultural agitprop. The attack on the United States on Sept. 11 indeed harmed the nation beyond the tragedy of that day. Some of it has been self-imposed. But the creation of a museum that leads us to recall, with indelible clarity, the awful reality of that day should be welcomed, not disparaged.
Floyd Abrams, New York
Bravo for Philip Kennicott’s brave and insightful review of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. As he described this “great, subterranean cathedral of America Militant, Suffering and Exceptional,” I wondered if we can ever recover from our distorted, narrow and paranoid perspective on this episode in our history. I hope so, but I agree with Mr. Kennicott that the museum is a step backward, not forward, on that path.
Bruce Byers, Falls Church