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Portents of the Real: A Primer for Post-9/11 Americaby Susan Willis
Synopses & Reviews
The shock and horror that gripped America on September 11, 2001, has given way to a culture of pathological worry. Ignited by the terrorist attacks, anxiety has been fueled by the nation’s official response, which sanctioned a narrative good vs. evil, the suppression of intellectual debate and the political expediency of keeping the citizenry in a constant state of fear. Snipers in the capital, the government in bunkers, flag euphoria and anthrax hysteria, torture in Abu Ghraib and a stuntman who survived Niagra Falls - these are the nation’s portents, signs of the times in post-9/11 America. Portents of the Real examines culture to apprehend the foreboding political subtexts of a nation perpetually at war on terror.
Against an ever deepening climate of political repression and a journalistic landscape dominated by sensationalized controversy and historical forgetfulness, Susan Willis offers an astute analysis of the realities behind America’s cultural myths. The effect is both wry and unnerving.
Book News Annotation:
Willis (literature, Duke U.) looks at developments following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon "through the oblique lens of culture." In six separate essays, she considers the cultural implications of mass patriotism, anthrax hoaxes in the context of mass commodity consumption, the Washington DC area snipers as manifestations of US imperialism on the home front, contemporary government secrecy, the cultural position of stuntmen and other risk-takers, and the Abu Ghraib scandal and the state sanction of violence.
Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Renowned cultural theorist reveals the deeper meanings of popular cultural phenomena in post-9/11 life in America.
About the Author
Susan Willis’s previous works include A Primer for Daily Life, Specifying, and Inside the Mouse. She is Associate Professor of Literature at Duke University.
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