Faludi on 9/11 and American Mythology
Posted on Sep 7, 2007
Journalist and author Susan Faludi is back with another book, “The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America,” an ambitious look into the formative mythology, driving forces and fears of the U.S.‘s national psyche. According to Faludi’s excerpt in Friday’s New York Times, the country’s post-9/11 mindset is reminiscent of another distinctive period in American history.
The New York Times:
Sept. 11 cracked the plaster on that master narrative of American prowess because it so exactly duplicated the terms of the early Indian wars, right down to the fecklessness of our leaders and the failures of our military strategies. Like its early American antecedents, the 9/11 attack was a homeland incursion against civilian targets by non-European, non-Christian combatants who fought under the flag of no recognized nation. Like the “different type of war” heralded by President Bush, the 17th and 18th century “troubles”—as one Puritan chronicler of Metacom’s Rebellion called them, refusing to grant them “the name of a war”—seemed to have no battlefield conventions, no constraints and no end.
Unfortunately, by replicating the Colonial war on terrorism, 9/11 invited us to re-enact the post-Colonial solution, to bury our awareness of our vulnerability under belligerent posturing and comforting fantasy.
Icons of our time: President Bush man-hugs a firefighter at Ground Zero in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.