Western Folklore

Vol. 68, No. 2/3 – Spring/Summer, 2009

9/11…And After: Folklore in Times of Terror

Special Issue Edited by Diane E. Goldstein


Introduction by the Guest Editor

9/11…And After 145
Diane E. Goldstein

[From the Introduction]: Sometime during the days following the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, photographer Erica Uhlenbeck took a photograph of a group of handwritten memorial posters displayed on a stretch of security fencing near ground zero. In the center of Ulenbeck's photograph, among the other posters, was a large handwritten sign that read:
All of you taking photos, I wonder if you really see whats [sic] here or if you are so concerned with getting that perfect shot that you've forgotten this is a tragedy site, not a tourist attraction. As I continually had to move “out of someone’s way” as they very carefully tried to frame this place [of] mourning, I kept wondering what makes us think we can capture the pain, the loss, the pride and the confusion—this complexity—into a 4 x 5 glossy [?] (Haskins and DeRose 2003:385)
It seems appropriate to begin with this quoted statement of frustration because it characterizes the difficulty of attempting to capture even a portion of the incredible multi-dimensional and multi-vocal meanings, subjectivities, and expressions that characterize the topic of 9/11.


September 11: The Burden of the Ephemeral 155
Kay Turner

ABSTRACT: This article concentrates on the performativity of the ephemeral in a range of vernacular responses to the events of September 11 in New Turk City by widening the frame for folkloristic interpretations of tradition and temporality. When random and sudden death interrupts the course of logic and prediction, memorial making acts to combine ephemer­ality with tradition in a gesture towards recovery through remembrance. KEYWORDS: 9/ 11, ephemeral, spontaneous memorials, temporal, tradition

Faces in the Fire: Images of Terror in Oral Märchen and in the Wake of September 11 209
Carl Lindahl

ABSTRACT: The debate over the news coverage of September 11 offers parallels to the century-old fight over the violent imagery of storybook märchen. Do monstrous fairy-tales scar the child who hears them or fortify that child by presenting horror within a safe frame? Evidence suggests that traumatized adults blend their own imaginary experiences with real-life horrors as part of a healing process. Verbally-tripped images may ultimately aid the listener in coming to terms with traumatic experiences. KEYWORDS: 9/11, miirchen, media, story telling, trauma

The Sounds of Silence: Foreknowledge, Miracles, Suppressed Narratives, and Terrorism—What Not Telling Might Tell Us 235
Diane Goldstein

ABSTRACT: Focusing on the recurring theme of foreknowledge, this article explores issues of self censorship, narrative suppression, and untellability in rumours and legends that circulated in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, in reaction to the events of September 11th. The research presented here explores the identification of, importance of, problems with, and analysis of stories not told, particularly in the context of intense fear and suspicion. KEYWORDS: 9/11, conspiracy theory, contemporary legend, fore­knowledge, rumor

They Are Among Us and They Are Against Us: Contemporary Horror Stories about Muslims and Immigrants in the Netherlands 257
Theo Meder

ABSTRACT: In contemporary legend and rumour, fact and fiction often mingle. Modern legends and ostensive action can have a tremendous impact on the perception of reality and they can form a barometer for the social climate. For ethnologists and folklorists, the perception of truth should be more vital than truth itself. The question is why certain legends are believed to be true. This article explores that question through material collected from the Netherlands that portrays immigrants and Muslims as dangerous “Others.” KEYWORDS: contemporary legend, Nether/,ands, ostension, rape, xenophobia

The Smiley Gang Panic: Ethnic Legends about Gang Rape in the Netherlands in the Wake of 9/11 275
Peter Burger

ABSTRACT: In public discourse, legend and media are inextricably connected. This case study of post-9/11 gang rape legends in the Netherlands features news items about gang rapes that turn out to be legends. These legends can be read as a public response to media discourse on gang rape as a type of ethnic crime. By depicting others as inhumanly cruel, individuals distance themselves from the ethnic “Other.” KEYWORDS: contemporary legend, mutilation, Netherlands, rape, xenophobia


Richard Sisson, Christian Zacher, and Andrew Cayton, Editors, The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia 297
Reviewed by Guy Lancaster

Dwight F. Reynolds, Arab Folklore: A Handbook 299
Reviewed by Zulfiya Tursunova

Steve Newman, Ballad Collection, Lyric, and the Canon: The Call of the Popular from the Restoration to the New Criticism 301
Reviewed by Mary-Ann Constantine

William A. Dodge, Black Rock: A Zuni Cultural Landscape and the Meaning of Place 303
Reviewed by Jeffrey S. Debies-Carl

Carolyn E. Ware, Cajun Women and Mardi Gras: Reading the Rules Backward 305
Reviewed by James Reitter

Nicholas Howe, Editor, Ceremonial Culture in Pre-Modern Europe 307
Reviewed by Lori Ann Garner and Renée R. Trilling

María Herrera-Sobek, Chicano Folklore: A Handbook 309
Reviewed by Gustavo Ponce

Judy Yung, Gordon H. Chang, and Him Mark Lai, Editors, Chinese American Voices: From the Gold Rush to the Present 312
Reviewed by Juwen Zhang

Greg Bottoms, The Colorful Apocalypse: Journeys in Outsider Art 314
Reviewed by Moriah Hart

Simon J. Bronner, Crossing the Line: Violence, Play, and Drama in Naval Equator Traditions 316
Reviewed by Mickey Weems

Eviatar Zerubavel, The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life 318
Reviewed by Anthony McCann

Edward Komara, Editor, Encyclopedia of the Blues 321
Reviewed by Peter B. Lowry

Bob L. Cox, Fiddlin’ Charlie Bowman: An East Tennessee Old- Time Music Pioneer and His Musical Family 323
Reviewed by Drew Beisswenger

Gregory Hansen, A Florida Fiddler: The Life and Times of Richard Seaman 325
Reviewed by Jan Rosenberg

Bonnie C. Marshall and Virginia A. Tashjian, The Flower of Paradise and Other Armenian Tales 326
Reviewed by Renee Crawford

Sharon R. Sherman and Mikel J. Koven, Editors, Folklore/Cinema: Popular Film as Vernacular Culture 328
Reviewed by James Deutsch

Clark “Bucky” Halker and Paul Tyler, Editors, Folksongs of Illinois 330
Reviewed by Gregory Hansen

Sydney Hutchinson, From Quebradita to Duranguense: Dance in Mexican American Youth Culture 332
Reviewed by Nancy Lee Ruyter

James R. Dow, German Folklore: A Handbook 334
Reviewed by Moriah Hart

William Lynwood Montell, Editor, Grassroots Music in the Upper Cumberland 335
Reviewed by Trevor J. Blank

Thomas A. Green, Editor, The Greenwood Library of American Folktales 337
Reviewed by Steve Warrick

James J. Lorence, A Hard Journey: The Life of Don West 339
Reviewed by Nancy L. Watterson

Adam Gussow, Journeyman’s Road: Modern Blues Lives from Faulkner’s Mississippi to Post 9/11 New York 341
Reviewed by John Wolford

Cristina Bacchilega, Legendary Hawai’i and the Politics of Place: Tradition, Translation, and Tourism 343
Reviewed by Holly Hobbs

Thomas A. DuBois, Lyric, Meaning, and Audience in the Oral Tradition of Northern Europe 345
Reviewed by James Reitter

Abigail A. Van Slyck, A Manufactured Wilderness: Summer Camps and the Shaping of American Youth, 1890-1960 and Lee H. Whittlesey, Storytelling in Yellowstone: Horse and Buggy Tour Guides 347
Reviewed by Teri Brewer

el-Shamy, Hasan, A Motif Index of the Thousand and One Nights 350
Reviewed by Dana Kramer-Rolls

Neil V. Rosenberg and Charles K. Wolfe, The Music of Bill Monroe 351
Reviewed by Drew Beisswenger

Charles Reagan Wilson, Editor, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture Volume 3: History 354
Reviewed by Guy Lancaster

Charles Reagan Wilson, Editor, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 4: Myth, Manners, and Memory 356
Reviewed by Maggi Michel

John T. Edge, Editor, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 7: Foodways 357
Reviewed by Theresa A. Vaughan

Martin Melosi, Editor, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Volume 8: Environment 359
Reviewed by Wendy Welch

Felicia R. McMahon, Not Just Child’s Play: Emerging Tradition and the Lost Boys of Sudan 361
Reviewed by William Westerman

Nathan Hesselink, P’ungmul: South Korean Drumming and Dance 363
Reviewed by Judy Van Zile

Jennifer Nez Denetdale, Reclaiming Diné History: The Legacies of Navajo Chief Manuelito and Juanita 365
Reviewed by Laura Ruth Marcus

Guy Beiner, Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory 367
Reviewed by Anthony Bak Buccitelli

Carol Crown and Charles Russell, Editors, Sacred and Profane: Voice and Vision in Southern Self-Taught Art 369
Reviewed by Jo Farb Hernández

Craig Smith, Sing My Whole Life Long: Jenny Vincent’s Life in Folk Music and Activism 371
Reviewed by Maureen Loughran

Natalie Kononenko, Slavic Folklore: A Handbook 373
Reviewed by Inna Golovakha-Hicks

Michael Ann Williams, Staging Tradition: John Lair and Sarah Gertrude Knott 374
Reviewed by Miriam Robinson Gould

Ruth Tsoffar, The Stains of Culture: An Ethno-Reading of Karaite Jewish Women 376
Reviewed by Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt

Jacqueline S. Thursby, Story: A Handbook 378
Reviewed by Amy Skillman

Margaret Read MacDonald, Ten Traditional Tellers 380
Reviewed by Wanda G. Addison

Jan Rosenberg, Editor, These Are Our Stories: Women’s Stories of Abuse and Survival 382
Reviewed by Ann K. Ferrell

Mayer Kirshenblatt and Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust 384
Reviewed by Amy Shuman

Garth L. Green and Philip Scher, Editors, Trinidad Carnival: The Cultural Politics of a Transnational Festival 386
Reviewed by Vasiliki Sirakouli

Jennifer Milner Davis, Editor, Understanding Humor in Japan 388
Reviewed by Todd M. Callais

Valerie Raoul, Connie Canam, Angela D. Henderson, and Carla Paterson, Editors, Unfitting Stories: Narrative Approaches to Disease, Disability, and Trauma 390
Reviewed by Sheila Bock

Jennifer Eastman Attebery, Up in the Rocky Mountains: Writing the Swedish Immigrant Experience 392
Reviewed by Rachel Gianni Abbott

Dave Aftandilian, Marion W. Copeland, and David Scofield Wilson, Editors, What Are the Animals to Us?: Approaches from Science, Religion, Folklore, Literature, and Art 394
Reviewed by James Reitter

Justin M. Nolan, Wild Harvest in the Heartland: Ethnobotany in Missouri’s Little Dixie 396
Reviewed by E. N. Anderson