I love you, Hetalia fandom, and sometimes I hate you, too. Like, uh, when you do things like the second one in this post. Sometimes you are so far beyond cringe-worthy that it's not even remotely amusing anymore.
Okay, okay, so the art I linked to above is an aberration; it's one person being insensitive, and every fandom that's ever existed (actually, any group of people of any kind that's ever existed) has those.
But I've got to admit, you guys, I hate you every time I see 9/11-related art of any kind in this fandom. 99% of what I've seen is very sad-looking, and the artists were clearly trying to express dismay over the situation . . . But you know what? I still get upset when I see it.
It's not because the idea of fanworks dealing with 9/11 --- or any other tragedy --- upset me per se; in theory I'm fine with them. But (and this is where the bitchy part comes in), how do I say this? Over half of the 9/11 arts I've seen were drawn by people who can't draw worth shit, and half the fics I've read were written by people who can't write worth shit. (And just to clarify, I do mean half, not all of them; I'm not talking about you here, daffodil_brill.) And hey, in most cases, most things fanworks tend to address, that isn't so much of a problem! I think that we all understand by now that a lot of people in fandom are quite young and haven't had much time to improve, or are hobbyists who only make fanworks for fun and aren't worried about how the finished product turns out.
The thing is, if you write a sweet, fluffy fanfic about nothing in particular and your writing is bland and dull and you don't say anything of value --- nobody's going to be offended by that. It's not going to feel to people like you're cheapening anything.
In this case, I can't help but feel that if you can't, don't.
I feel like, when you're writing about something very serious (whether it's a specific event such as 9/11 or a more generalized problem like rape or child abuse), just . . . unless you actually have something original to say and have the skill to say it, don't. I'm also very sick of those fanfics that basically go: "[Child] was abused. Her dad hit her and punched her, and it was so sad. Child abuse is terrible. ;__;" I feel like, YES, WE ALREADY KNOW THAT. But survivors of abuse deserve better than your cliched pity to champion their cause. I know that people think they're helping when they write such things, but I don't believe that they actually are.
The thing that makes me uncomfortable regarding Hetalia fanart in particular (and a big part of the reason this is staying on my personal journal) is that a pretty big portion of the English-language fandom is American and in the right age range to remember 9/11 vividly. I'm too afraid to critique anything anyone posts to their face --- even when I do think it's poorly done --- because for all I know, maybe that person lost family members or friends in 9/11, or maybe they were otherwise really traumatized by it and this is cathartic for them. There's really no nice way to say, "I'm sorry, but your catharsis is tacky and I feel uncomfortable looking at it."
That doesn't stop me from feeling annoyed, though, and . . . I really feel that if something is drawn/written/etc. solely to be cathartic, it's in everyone's best interests to think about it very seriously before putting it out on the internet.