Horrified, saddened, and angered: That was the American people’s reaction to the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia Tech shootings, and the 2008 financial crisis. In Consuming Catastrophe, Timothy Recuber presents a unique and provocative look at how these four very different disasters took a similar path through public consciousness. He explores the myriad ways we engage with and negotiate our feelings about disasters and tragedies—from omnipresent media broadcasts to relief fund efforts and promises to “Never Forget.”
Recuber explains how a specific and “real” kind of emotional connection to the victims becomes a crucial element in the creation, use, and consumption of mass mediation of disasters. He links this to the concept of “empathetic hedonism,” or the desire to understand or feel the suffering of others.
The ineffability of disasters makes them a spectacular and emotional force in contemporary American culture. Consuming Catastrophe provides a lively analysis of the themes and meanings of tragedy and the emotions it engenders in the representation, mediation and consumption of disasters.
|Publisher:||Temple University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Timothy Recuber is a postdoctoral lecturer in the Princeton Writing Program at Princeton University.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Decade of Disaster 1
1 A History of Catastrophe: Media, Mass Culture, and Authenticity 23
2 The Limits of Empathy: Hurricane Katrina and the Virginia Tech Shootings 58
3 The Authenticity of Fear: September 11 and the Financial Crisis 98
4 Memory as Therapy: September 11, Hurricane Kutrina, and Online Commemoration 128
Conclusion: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Disasters Still to Come 163