chapter  5
22 Pages

Catherine V. Scott

In his September 11, 2001 address to the nation, President Bush explained that ‘our

way of life, our very freedom, came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly

terrorist acts’ (Bush, 2001a, p. 1). This chapter argues that the US ‘way of life’ has

been undergoing significant changes since the end of the Cold War and the September

11 terrorist attacks have highlighted rather than halted those changes. In brief, the

growing significance of media, the rise of image and marketing, and the full-blown

emergence of the consumer-citizen were already partially supplanting older notions

of US identity grounded in the nation-state before the terrorist attacks. Many of

President Bush’s phrases were memorable, in fact, because of how old-fashioned

they sounded. Shortly after the attacks, for example, the president referred to Wild

West posters and ‘smokin’ them out of their holes’, which sounded old-fashioned in

a new world imagined to be without borders.