WR 121 Landwehr: Getting Started

Finding an Essay Topic in the Table of Contents

The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things was written by Barry Glassner. The original edition was published in 1999 with eight chapters. The 10th Anniversary Edition contains ten chapters, but only minor updates. You may be able to find an essay topic by looking at the structure of the book, as seen below.

Barry Glassner, formerly professor of sociology and executive vice provost at the University of Southern California, is now the president of Lewis & Clark College.

Table of Contents

1. Dubious Dangers on Roadways and Campuses: How Fears are Sold

  • carjacking
  • "road rage"
  • drunk driving
  • political correctness

2. Crime in the News: Tall Tales and Overstated Statistics

  • workplace violence
  • cyber predators
  • pedophile priests
  • TV/video game violence

3. Youth at Risk: Faulty Diagnoses and Callous Cures

  • teen gamblers
  • "cyberporn"
  • missing children
  • sick children - ADD
  • crack babies

4. Monster Moms: On the Art of Misdirection

  • teen parents
  • "babies having babies"
  • single mothers
  • infanticide/filicide - killer moms
  • battered husbands

5. Black Men: How to Perpetuate Prejudice without Really Trying

  • police inattention
  • anti-Semitism
  • music - "thug life"

6. "Smack is Back": When Presidents and the Press Collude, the Scares Never Stop

  • "crack panic"
  • presidential statements
  • media campaigns
  • junkies and class
  • poster children
  • roofies

7. Metaphoric Illnesses: How not to Criticize the Establishment

  • battle fatigue
  • Gulf War Syndrome
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
  • breast implants
  • vaccinations

8. Plane Wrecks: Small Danger, Big Scare

  • USAir
  • counterfeit parts
  • economy airlines

9. Final Thoughts: The Martians Aren't Coming

  • so-called "experts"

10. New Fears for a New Century: And Some Old Ones Updated

  • social media fears
  • AMBER alerts
  • school shootings
  • terrorism
  • 9/11



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