America Noir: Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the by David Cochran

By David Cochran

B-movies, crime novels, technology fiction- all of those varieties of mass media got here into their very own within the Nineteen Fifties. brushed off through critics as dehumanizing to either writer and viewers, those genres unflinchingly uncovered the depths of yank lifestyles at a time whilst it was once no longer politically right to take action. David Cochran info how, on the peak of the chilly conflict, ten writers and filmmakers challenged such social pieties because the superiority of American democracy, the benevolence of unfastened firm, and the sanctity of the suburban family members. Rod Serling's The Twilight area similar tales of sufferers of colossal, faceless bureaucratic powers. Jim Thompson's The Grifters portrayed the ravages of capitalism on these on the backside of the social ladder. Patricia Highsmith's The proficient Mr. Ripley featured an amoral con guy who infiltrated the privileged classification and wreaked havoc as soon as there. All of those artists helped to set the degree for the Nineteen Sixties counterculture's problem to the status quo. In doing so, they blurred the strains among "high" and "low" paintings.

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Extra info for America Noir: Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the Postwar Era

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When the father asks why that particular amount, the son responds: "I've been keeping a little black book since I was seven years old. There are one hundred and eighty-two names in it, one for every rotten bastard who's given me a hard time. " "Son" the father shook his head, aghast. "What happened to you? " "Thinking about it is all that's kept me alive," the kid said. " Page 20 At this point, the father explains that in drilling the well the two had mortgaged everything and so were broke. " 'Goddam,' the kid said.

By reconstructing the political and cultural milieu of the postwar era, we can trace the process by which political dissent was defeated or integrated into the dominant consensus and the way in which the war on mass culture became a central aspect of the Cold War for intellectuals. In turn, such developments gave rise to an underground culture that flourished in several forms. Forging the Consensus In the immediate aftermath of the war, a wide range of options, both political and cultural, lay open before Americans.

They rejected, however, the liberals' reform program as woefully inadequate. Fascinatingly, in many ways the emergent underground culture actually mirrored the elite critique of middlebrow and mass culture. Authors like Condon, Charles Beaumont, and Ray Bradbury attacked the dehumanizing and totalitarian aspects of mass culture. Others, like Willeford, Highsmith, and Fuller, made frequent reference to traditional high-cultural texts but not, in midcult fashion, Page 15 to give their works a patina of respectability while cutting away any critical aspects of high culture.

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