Susan Faludi’s The Terror Dream is different from any book I have read. (Disclaimer: I am not done yet, up to page 282.) It is a history book in some ways, but a few chapters remind me of the Howard Zinn U.S. History book, which explains things very differently from the books we read in school.
Faludi’s recounting of 9-11 and its effect on the United States was surprising . I started talking to my family about WHY I had not noticed these changes in our country and in the attitudes of people. They reminded me that I was only 9 years old when the attacks occurred and, at that time, I was living in a house that was sometimes full of terror without the presence of Muslim extremists. I was far more focused on fear inside my house than fear from other countries or airplane attacks. But I did often wonder if my school was a terrorist target.
That said, here are some reactions and thoughts I had about the first part of the book:
In the introduction, all of the information was new to me. I don’t remember a lot from TV around 9/11 and I never noticed that all of the heroes were shown as men and all of the victims in NY shown as women. I did not know that even though many of the New York victims left widowers behind, the media almost exclusively showed widows. My reaction to this is to be very angry that the media was more interested in a story and a point-of-view than in actual facts. I had that same anger at the media in several of the chapters, each time Faludi shows that they put more importance on the story they wanted to show than on the REAL story.
I am completely bewildered at why the media, the politicians and the important people in the country would think that the way to react to 19 terrorists blowing up planes and buildings is to think we need more stereotypical John Wayne men and virgin housewives. How does that make sense? I can understand if they said we need the air force to have better training and be ready to defend Washington. Or if they said we need to keep box cutters off airplanes. But how will it stop terrorists if some lady in Oklahoma stays home with her kids?
I think that the way the talk show hosts and the rest of media treated the women columnists was horrendous and I wonder if that still happens. Faludi writes about the lack of women (and especially liberal women) on the Sunday talk shows and in the columnist parts of the newspapers, but I also wonder if it is a coincidence that today in the progressive media, Colbert, Stewart & Olbermann are ALSO white men.
I think it is completely insane that the focus on the de-burka’d women in Afghanistan was on make-up and hairstyles and not on education, community and health.
I am 16, and I love experimenting with make-up and trying new hair-styles. But if anyone described who I really am and what I do, I hope they would focus on my other qualities and interests first. I bet that the Afghanistan women and girls feel the same.
We are still at war in Afghanistan and I don’t think it is going well. How are women doing over there now? Did their hair salons and make-up gifts make a difference? Is that what they really want for a better life?
Chapter 2: Donald Rumsfeld was supposed to be a sexy hero? GAG me! Brain bleach please! And George Bush? No Way! His leadership was reading to second graders (isn’t that a woman’s job?!?) and hugging girl and women victims. Those guys were supposed to STOP the attack and make the country safer by protecting the shipping ports, not by having photo-ops.