Download e-book for iPad: American Studies by Louis Menand

By Louis Menand

ISBN-10: 0374706018

ISBN-13: 9780374706012

At each one step of this trip via American cultural historical past, Louis Menand has an unique aspect to make: he explains the genuine value of William James's fearful breakdown, and of the anti-Semitism in T. S. Eliot's writing. He finds the explanations for the impressive advertisement successes of William Shawn's New Yorker and William Paley's CBS. He uncovers the relationship among Larry Flynt's Hustler and Jerry Falwell's evangelism, among the atom bomb and the Scholastic flair try out. He locates the significance of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer, Pauline Kael, Christopher Lasch, and Rolling Stone journal. And he lends an ear to Al Gore within the White residence because the Starr record is eventually offered to the general public.

Like his significantly acclaimed bestseller, The Metaphysical membership, American Studies is highbrow and cultural historical past at its top: online game and indifferent, with a robust interest in regards to the political underpinnings of rules and concerning the purposes winning rules insinuate themselves into the tradition at huge. From certainly one of our major thinkers and critics, recognized either for his "sly wit and reportorial high-jinks [and] readability and rigor" (The Nation), those essays are incisive, spectacular, and very unlikely to place down.

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Of course, some shows that seemed just escapist fantasy reflected real cultural tensions, such as “Bewitched” (1964–72), a sitcom about a mortal man married to a witch with supernatural powers that cleverly disguised issues of women’s roles that contemporary feminists were raising. In the second half of the decade, when reality threatened to intrude on television, it was filtered, as when the Rolling Stones were forced to change their relatively innocuous “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in January 1967.

John Huston’s neglected The Unforgiven, the story of a Texas family repressing the secret that their adopted daughter is actually a Native American taken from a Kiowa settlement, is a remarkably pointed attack on the racism of frontier America, and by extension of bourgeois white society. If Audrey Hepburn is somewhat difficult to accept as the Kiowa foundling, the Bible-thumping Rawlins family, who turn on Ben Zachary (Burt Lancaster) and his beleaguered kin, is pointedly suggestive of the axiomatic response of white “settlers” to the native population.

In hindsight,” wrote Paul Monaco, “the Hollywood feature film appears to have been struggling throughout the 1960s with the question of how to hold its audience by creating movies that might be positioned somewhere between being ‘arty’ and ‘conventional’” (3). ” Such a distinction may be seen to inform, for example, the fate of Roman Polanski’s Dance of the Vampires, which was recut by MGM executive producer Martin Ransohoff with cartoon fangs added to Leo the Lion to make it more palatable for mainstream audiences, and released in the United States as The Fearless Vampire Killers or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck in 1967.

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American Studies by Louis Menand


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