In Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Susan Faludi analyzed the myth of the stoic American man who easily meets the needs of his vulnerable wife and family and the detrimental effects it has had on real men with little power, struggling in the face of increasing economic inequalities. The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post9/11 America goes further, illustrating the response to these myths in the midst of perceived national peril. Faludi discusses how America returns again and again to the swaggering and false imagery of the Old West with its gun-swinging cowboys, helpless women, and ungodly savages; and how these myths keep us as docile as the hapless citizens in Soylent Green. At root, all of Faludi's work is a welcome inspection and sobering indictment of the media (and politics, which is quite practically the same thing). While detractors might say that she has gone too far, postulating that the powers that be would hijack a hijacking in order to keep women in their place, a more relevant complaint would be that Faludi has not gone far enough: The powers that be have hijacked the hijacking in order to keep everyone in their place and, at this point, it clearly has more to do with wealth than gender.
Tue., Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m., 2007