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American Terminator: Myths, Movies, and Global Power [Paperback]

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Item description for American Terminator: Myths, Movies, and Global Power by Ziauddin Sardar...

A hard-hitting sequel and companion piece to the international bestseller Why Do People Hate America?

The book begins its examination of the state of American society with the California Gubernatorial Election of 2003. The victory of Hollywood superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger in that election is more than the triumph of a populist candidate-it is a telling indicator of how an uninformed people has been misled by a political illusion. This is fantasy politics, and it is set to unfold across the US in the future. It is, therefore, a vital concern for people everywhere.

How American democracy is understood and enacted in the United States is an essential guide to how its nation-building efforts abroad operate. The authors argue that the failures of American democracy at home-its increasing reliance on fantasy versions of reality-are blueprints for its failures overseas. What America cannot resolve at home, as much as how it constructs and operates its foreign policy, makes the world a more unstable and dangerous place for everyone.

The authors diagnose these failures as "Schwar-zenegger's Laws." These laws allow us to understand how Hollywood's global superstar was elected to office, not as a reaction against political failure but as the pure expression of an enduring and disturbing thread of fantasy within American politics, culture and society. As a political candidate, Schwarzenegger did not need to create a conventional political platform-he had only to present himself, for he was already an oven-ready candidate, an established persona with a set of values defined by his films which provided him with a definable policy stance in the public imagination. With America now the lone hyperpower, "Schwarzenegger's Laws" affect every citizen of every country.

Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies are prominent writers, journalists and critics. Both live in the United Kingdom.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.87" Width: 5.04" Height: 0.79"
Weight:   0.84 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2004
Publisher   The Disinformation Company
ISBN  193285701X  
ISBN13  9781932857016  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ziauddin Sardar

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ziauddin Sardar was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hackney, near London. A writer, broadcaster, and cultural critic, he is one of the world's foremost Muslim intellectuals and author of more than forty-five books on Islam, science, and contemporary culture. He has been listed by "Prospect "magazine as one of Britain's top one hundred intellectuals. Currently he is visiting professor of postcolonial studies at City University; editor of "Futures," a monthly journal on policy, planning, and futures studies; a columnist for the "New Statesman"; and a commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He lives in London.

Ziauddin Sardar was born in 1958 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Independent Scholar Middlesex University Independent Scholar Independe.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > Contemporary Methods > Multicultural
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > Congresses, Senates, & Legislative Bodies
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Government > State & Local Government
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > U.S.

Reviews - What do customers think about American Terminator: Myths, Movies, and Global Power?

Not So Terminator  Aug 11, 2005
Having thoroughly enjoyed the authors' previous book, Why Do People Hate America?, I started reading this with two expectations in mind: either a) I would enjoy this book as much as the last one, or b) this book would be a rehashing of the last book and thus annoying. What I found in this book is some of the same tightly-argued points about American global empire in addition to a discussion of how the American entertainment industry is used to create and perpetuate American domination of other cultures.
The authors begin by stating that Americans live by ten laws of mythology: fear is essential; escape is the reason for being; ignorance is bliss; America is the idea of nation; democratization of everything is the essence of America; American democracy has the right to be imperial and express itself through empire; cinema is the engine of empire; celebrity is the currency of empire; war is a necessity; and all of American tradition and history are universal narratives applicable across time and space. After stating these laws they go on to analyze one American film per law, explaining how it demonstrates that law. As a person who enjoys watching movies I liked how they deconstructed each one and applied it to the law being discussed, and I even read about some older movies that I hadn't seen or heard of. Appreciating that aside, I do have to say that I disagree with some of their points about the "laws" and that the authors tended to stray from the subject often in order to bring in information that had little applicability to the current topic but that reinforced the themes of the book which were that most Americans seem very insular and narcissistic to non-Americans, have very little idea what their government is doing internationally, and don't understand what the repercussions of their government's actions will be.
I definitely suggest that others read this but my caution is "don't judge a book by its cover" - there's very little discussion of Arnold Schwarzenegger to be found and the title seems to indicate more of a discussion of him and what it says about America that a foreign-born actor is the governor of California.
Insightful  Dec 18, 2004
A very fascinating perspective on the American mind. WARNING: If you attribute all things good in the universe to America the beautiful, then you may be offended. If you believe that America can do no wrong, then, yes, you will likely be offended. Gomer Pyle reruns are a safer option for you.

If you think the world can use a little improving and you're not too afraid to take a closer look, then, by all means, read the book.
Useful study of illusions  Dec 2, 2004

British writers Sardar and Davies have written a fascinating study of US culture, especially of the belief that because they are a good people, they are a force for good in the world. Why then do US interventions abroad produce bad results?

The authors explore ten themes: the promotion of fear - `be afraid, be very afraid'; escape (emigration, running away); exceptionalism - believing themselves different from and better than other nations, there is no need to know anything about them; the USA as the idea of nation is everybody's future; everything should be democratically accessible - guns, other people's oil, etc.; the right to be imperial; cinema as empire's engine (not profit then?!); worldwide celebrity as empire's currency; war as needed for origin, identity, consolidation, expansion and hegemony; and the USA's way as universal.

The authors explore how Hollywood has given America its idealised image of itself. John Ford's classic Western Drums along the Mohawk (1939) explored the themes of civilising the wilderness by pushing back the frontier, building a new life and a new land by wiping out Native Americans.

Frank Capra's Mr Smith goes to Washington (also 1939) presented the USA as the idea of nation, sanctifying the US Constitution, an 18th century document which endorses `the right of property in a slave', does not guarantee the right to vote and does not allow a direct vote for the head of government.

Howard Hawks' To have and have not (1944), like Casablanca (1942), gave us Humphrey Bogart as the reluctant hero, symbolising the USA as reluctant superpower. Robert Altman's The player (1992) examined Hollywood, empire and celebrity. Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), starring John Wayne, presented war's psychosis. Universal soldier (1992) portrayed the USA as the global narrative.

The authors impute a single culture to the USA, ignoring its working class culture of trade unions, workers' nationalism and opposition to empire. Like the hero of Groundhog Day (1993), the USA is trapped in repeats, of exploitation and war. American workers must reject idealism, take responsibility for running America and throw out their rulers.
I'm offended.  Nov 17, 2004
I find AMERICAN TERMINATOR to be an extremely offensive book. Let's, for a moment, examine the country from which the authors hail. Great Britain's foreign policy has been key in developing two world wars both of which required the U.S. to bail her out of. In the case of WWII if it weren't for the U.S. they would have eventually fallen to the Germans or Russians. If it weren't for the U.S. having projected it's military umbrella over Great Britain and most of western Europe for the last 50 years they would all be speaking Russian by now. In spite of the hundreds of trillions the U.S. has spent militarily to protect them they have all managed to allow their internal politics to move them partially or fully to socialism. None of these countries that the authors say we should listen to enjoy the standard of living or individual freedoms taken for granted in the U.S - far from it! Further, in the face of the fact that Britain supports a huge, useless, parasitic Royal Family, for Brit's to criticize the manner in which Americans regard our celebrities and allow them to influence our politics is ludicrous. This book is just another attempt to criticize and undermine the things that set us apart from the far less free and affluent nations. To suggest that we have some kind of obligation to heed the input from these sources is, once again, ludicrous. As long as we ignore what this book suggests we will continue to be the most free and successful nation on earth.

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