Academic Probation

Perspectives on 9/11

Actors assess the impact on...actors

Publication YearIssue Date 


You'll have to excuse the pun, but the post-⁄ era of Hollywood has been boom-times for people like myself, a native Syrian character actor. Those twin towers might as well been encircled by a green S, and when they fell, they collapsed towers of money onto my brethren and me. To think that Hollywood is so unoriginal, they would take America's perceived enemies and transform them into stereotypical goons for every single action movie that has come out in the last seven years… well.

For me, the hit on my conscience has been somewhat less than I expected. It's as if my conscience is encircled in soft green presidents, caressing and kissing the pain away. Oh Grover Cleveland, your walrus-lips are better than any balm American pharmaceutical companies can make. The greater the financial reward and the power at stake, the less the conscience means- look at the Rudolph Giuliani. Did you know he was mayor of New York during ⁄?

Besides, how am I supposed to feel saddened by , American deaths when my Iraqi brethren are being slaughtered by the tens of thousands? I'm going to take advantage of my position in this land of freedoms and cash in the dollars while they are still worth something.

This work is so easy, I'd do it for free- if I wasn't already getting paid thousands of American dollars. The director yells, "Ashur! Throw on a scarf around your face!" or "Ashur, grow a beard, you're a terrorist chrissakes!" Apparently just being myself with my face hidden is the scariest thing to middle America.

Unfortunately, just being my scary self makes it hard to ride the bus. Or planes... into buildings! That's a joke I like to make, but I don't think it's funny yet. Maybe it will be in another seven years.


I remember the good days. The days before September the 11th. Work was steady then. I was a character actor. My Russian roots, my accent- producers loved me. I was always ready to find work- even if it was on the set of some B-movie starring Dolph Lundgren and Charles Bronson. I never had more than a few lines in these films and I always got killed in the end, but I carved out a respectable niche that put food on the table for my family.

Then the planes hit and my heart sank. I watched as they crumbled, I saw the smirking face of Osama bin Laden. I was on location in the fields of Kansas, which were supposed to double for the fields of the Ukraine. The producers sat me and a few of my other Russian compatriots down- they said they had to get rid of us. They were re-writing the movie to feature Afghani terrorists. I remember my father dying in the Afghani war. I had even more reason to hate them now.

Now, it is seven years later. Shamefully, I have become a dinner theatre actor for some community theatre production of Peter Pan. I sing and dance like Tanirev, the trained bear in my beloved childhood circus. I'm a singing, dancing pirate who serves people their food! Steven Seagal used to fake-punch me in the face! Now I sing for 13-year-old kids who do not like to eat their cauliflower! When I was 13, I was eating my pet goldfish, Ivan, as the Iron Curtain fell!

There is hope. The conflict in Georgia has raised my spirits. The spectre of the Cold War, of war with beloved Mother Russia, is becoming more and more likely every day. I will finally be able to work. Russia will finally have its vengeance! We will finally win this long war of attrition! We will win it in Hollywood!