Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America by Susan Faludi: In the tv show, Battlestar Galactica, some ominous voice occasionally says, "Everything has happened before, and it will all happen again." In The Terror Dream, Faludi advances the theory that America's response to 9/11 played out the way it did -- reverting to a myth of protective men and dependent women -- because this response had been predetermined when the country had experienced incidents of terror threatening our homes in the past. And she wasn't referring to Pearl Harbor, instead she traces this myth back to Puritan America and the need to protect families from Indian raids. The Terror Dream is well-written and well-argued. I just wish Faludi had spent less time on the Jessica Lynch story and the lies made up to fit this story into the prevailing mythos. I got a little bogged down and a bit bored at the length of this portion of the book. I would have preferred that Faludi had spent time on more important issues that grew out of 9/11 and the Iraq war. For instance, that picture of the woman soldier standing over and torturing Arab men at Abu Ghraib -- how does that stand the myth of "protective man/dependent woman" on its head? Or does it, in fact, play into and reinforce that myth? Instead, Abu Ghraib gets mentioned just in passing while I thought the Jessica Lynch segment would never end. Overall, Faludi's book is well-worth reading for anyone interested in post-9/11 America -- you can skim the Jessica Lynch section.