MODERN AMERICAN MASCULINITY IS about mastery and control: control over one’s destiny and that of ‘lesser’ men and women. The late Notorious B.I.G. summarised this vision of manhood succinctly when he rapped ‘never lose, never choose to,’ but the same sentiment is manifest in a variety of pop cultural forms. Never mind that the imperative for mastery seems to emerge from outside of masculine men and women – that pop culture protagonists are impelled by a force that they themselves do not control. Unencumbered by this contradiction, John McClane and his kindred spirits seize control of Nakatomi Plazas all across the pages, screens, and stages of American cultural life.