Sunday, March 30, 2008
This Eskesen floaty pen is a tribute to September 11th with "Sept. 11 2001 We Shall Never Forget" on one side and "God Bless the USA" and a floating eagle on teh other side. I purchased this pen on Ebay.
A pen is such a simple object, but something that is used by everyone and in everyday activities. It is no surprise that a tribute to 9/11 is reflected here. Most tribute and memorial 9/11 objects are reflected in everyday items. What is the reason for this? One reason could be that picking objects like this allowed a wider audience to be reached. But then, why reach a wider audience? What is the motivation? In the case of this floaty pen, Eskesen obviously made a decision to join hundreds and even thousands of other corporations in paying tribute or memoralizing 9/11. This company may have wanted to express their support and pay respect. But, could there be another underlying idea? Could their be a financial reason for such tribute items? Did such items sell well?
In today's environment, people may purchase such items simply because the object is functional, and they will use it. Or maybe they will use the object to connect to the tragic event and remember it. This is one of the main issues that needs to be answered. Why do people buy such items? What is their purpose in their lives?
Lighter secured in Dubai, UAE in 2002. Two flames are given off the top of the figure's head when a side lever is pulled. A silver plane is seen pierced through one of the Twin Towers depicted.
Offensive to many, this lighter brings to light the dual meaning of September 11th to different parts of the world. The individual here, most likely Osama bin Laden, preaches or points up with his finger raised. Would this be a tribute item that people would purchase in celebration of 9/11? Is this comparable to the items Americans purchased and corporations created after 9/11? These are many of the questions that arise when you view this item.
Back story: When I purchased this in Dubai at a street vendor stand, my dad protested the purchase. I think the rest of my family was also uncomfortable with it. I even worried about bringing the lighter back into the US. There was almost a sense of betrayal that people implied by buying such an object. It is one of the most polarizing and draws a strong reaction. Thus, it makes this lighter that much more powerful as an object.