With us, or against us. Containment Culture Post 9/11


Even close to a decade after the attacks on the World Trade Center, binary ideology remained in regards to the threat of terrorism. In this political cartoon, the man with the picket sign satirically assumes a non-threatening Muslim group is linked to terrorism. Religious accusations like this stem from the idea that anything that varies from the norm, must be un-American. Similarly, during the Cold War, members of American society who were not Christian were automatically under suspicion as a danger to the bubble of conformity that was intended to protect from communism. In almost McCarthy-like fashion, George W. Bush launched his war on terrorism with the idea that “you are either with us, or against us,” a phrase that encapsulates the battle between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

Interestingly, the protestor is displayed dressed in simple clothes while the woman is shown with more business-like attire and a “fancy” dog. This suggests that she comes from a higher economic echelon of society and hints that she has more intellectual insight as a result. Such class distinctions were blurred during the first decade of the Cold War. In the interest of the cartoon’s rhetoric, the man is being criticized for holding onto reactionary perspectives of the past. Their different appearances and the man’s angry expression also draw a connection between Cold War distrust of not only those of nonnormative religions, but also anyone who presented themselves with any disparities.



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