In this book I portray a world caught up in the middle of a narrative arms race, where the message of the political right has outflanked the message of the political left. It is a world where narratives used by the far right inch ever closer to those employed by right-wing extremists in the Muslim world.
Rather than dismiss the use of political narratives as a shallow tactic of the opposition, I promote their usefulness and outline a number of ways that liberal academics can retake the public discourse from the extremist opposition.
I also show how to use stories effectively to move the world away from extremism and toward social justice.
Mystery begins in a feeling, something deep, poetic, and sweet.
You get caught up in it. You get caught up in it fast. Little raptures of being alive ripple down the back of your neck, trickle like ice crystals doing an unknown, familiar dance across the constant heat of your spine. This is what it is like, this is where it all begins. Mystery is like a seductive voice deep into the way cool and hot of the music that you suddenly discover is singing to you, directly to you, only to you, breaking you away from what you thought you were, which until that very moment you thought was the whole and substance of your life. Mystery changes all of that because mystery changes you. Mystery defines you in the casting of its spell, in something as simple as the enchantment of a voice, a voice inviting you to dance, a dance that promises something you will always remember, or, maybe, that you will never forget.
Writing Ethnography is the material, textual manifestation of a long and complex process of my becoming a writer, a process I am still actively engaged in. Its ethnographic slant has been fashioned by a way of working, a way of entering the world everyday, which privileges asking questions about Others in cultural contexts constructed and understood by a self whose presence is very much in the text. Dan Rose calls this process "living the ethnographic life" (1990), but mostly I just think of it as becoming who I am.
"A deeply fascinating portrait of the cold war ... An important and brilliant take on life in mid-20th century US."
- Chris Petit, The Guardian
MY FATHER DIED, EITHER IN VIRGINIA OR MARYLAND, at the age of fifty-three, on the night of March 12, 1976. My mother told me that he died at home in his bed in Hagerstown, Maryland, but the Social Security Death Index indicates that he was pronounced dead in Virginia, although it doesn’t say where in Virginia.
I had doubts, even then, that he died at home.
"Mandatory reading for all who conduct public diplomacy, those who study it, and those who feel its pervasive effects."
- John Arquilla,
U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
You may wonder, as we three editors of this volume often do, how otherwise ordinary American academics from the Communication field got involved in the so-labeled “Global War on Terror?” What caused us to move from the safety and relative security of our university-sculpted tenured lives into the ongoing conversations about combating ideological support for terrorism, the role of communication in public diplomacy, and other questions about this new “rugged terrain” of fear, danger, lies, death, and loathing? Here is the short version of what happened.