These people will fail, but only because Al-Qaeda didn’t consider New Line’s release schedule when hatching their plot. Had Mohammed Atta and crew struck on 11 September 2002, this country’s vast reservoir of purblind outrage would now be making life very difficult for New Line Cinema and Peter Jackson.
I have always been baffled by such reactions to grief. In the past 15 months we have been exposed to countless images, sounds, and words from the events of and around 9/11: burning towers, cell phone conversations, smoldering rubble, rows of body bags, testimony from survivors and surviving relatives. Yet somehow, the image of a perfectly intact World Trade Center in Spider-Man is singled out as particularly re-traumatizing. I presume such relatives retain photographs of their lost loved ones in a state of health; shall we confiscate those, as well?
I do recognize that public sensibilities change in response to tragedy, but it is fatuously obtuse to suggest, as this group does, that the name of the film The Two Towers—adapted from a book published under the same name in 1954—was selected "intentionally ... to capitalize on the tragedy of September 11" and that such naming constitutes "hate speech" (the abuse of which term is a subject for another screed).
These groups all affect to argue for increased public "sensitivity," as if the public might develop a faculty for independently anticipating such controversies and judging the appropriateness of their actions. In fact, these groups want no such independent faculty; they instead desire public reflexivity: a knee-jerk obeisance to the professionally offended, whose job it is to inform us of our transgressions. In the end, such protests are just cries for attention, with as little sense of proportion or respect for others as an infant has.
Update: Mighta been punk'd.