Friday, October 5, 2007

GUEST POST: Terror Dreams and Awakenings

Like Dee, I'm really looking forward to reading Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream, which I believe is the first book to deal in depth with the psycho/sexual political/domestic alchemical reaction we had as a nation to 9/11. Her thesis, that we regressed to a kind of frontier mentality wherein men are the defenders of women, hearth, and home, seems broadly correct; but I may take issue with some of her specifics, based on what I've read leading up to the book release.

Dee, in her post below on The Terror Dream, makes a case for authentic sentiment and emotion around some of the mythic tropes proposed by Faludi. As for myself, I personally don't recall any gender scripting by the media in the immediate aftermath of that terrible day, but maybe that's because being a New Yorker I didn't see how the story played out in the national media. What I do remember are the faces of lost loved ones covering the blank spaces in the city; the faces of men and women: husbands, wives, fiánces, mothers, fathers, sons, sisters, brothers, daughters. The city was in collective domestic shock and mourning. And while many Americans may have been shocked by inconceivable catastrophe into settling down ("life is too short") and adopting the American script, many have also taken the opposite trajectory, impelled to shake off lethargy and shelter and to discard scripts completely: the "You only live once" camp.

In any case, I'm sure Faludi's book will be rich in data and reflection on wounds which have barely begun to heal, and whose scars are only beginning to be revealed to light of day and reason.

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