Latent Destinies: Cultural Paranoia and Contemporary U.S. Narrative
Latent Destinies examines the formation of postmodern sensibilities and their relationship to varieties of paranoia that have been seen as widespread in this century. Despite the fact that the Cold War has ended and the threat of nuclear annihilation has been dramatically lessened by most estimates, the paranoia that has characterized the period has not gone away. Indeed, it is as if—as O’Donnell suggests—this paranoia has been internalized, scattered, and reiterated at a multitude of sites: Oklahoma City, Waco, Ruby Ridge, Bosnia, the White House, the United Nations, and numerous other places.
O’Donnell argues that paranoia on the broadly cultural level is essentially a narrative process in which history and postmodern identity are negotiated simultaneously. The result is an erasure of historical temporality—the past and future become the all-consuming, self-aware present. To explain and exemplify this, O’Donnell looks at such books and films as Libra, JFK, The Crying of Lot 49, The Truman Show, Reservoir Dogs, Empire of the Senseless, Oswald’s Tale, The Executioner’s Song, Underworld, The Killer Inside Me, and Groundhog Day. Organized around the topics of nationalism, gender, criminality, and construction of history, Latent Destinies establishes cultural paranoia as consonant with our contradictory need for multiplicity and certainty, for openness and secrecy, and for mobility and historical stability.
Demonstrating how imaginative works of novels and films can be used to understand the postmodern historical condition, this book will interest students and scholars of American literature and cultural studies, postmodern theory, and film studies.
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2izek Abhor Acker articulation assassination assemblage becomes body character cold cold war conflated consensus conspiracy constitutes construction contemporary contingency contradiction criminal critique Crying of Lot cultural paranoia death Deleuze and Guattari DeLillo Derrida desire destiny deterritorialization discussion Empire event exchange Executioner's Song fantasy fiction film film's Ford formation gender Gilles Deleuze Gilmore's global Groundhog Day haecceity hermeneutic homoeroticism identificatory Kennedy Kennedy assassination Killer Inside late capitalism Libidinal Economy Libra logic Lyotard Mailer male manifest material modern mother multiple murder narrative narrator Nicole noia nomadic novel objects Oedipa Osella Oswald Oswald's Tale phallic dialectic plot political postmod postmodern identity Provo Pynchon regime relation representation represented reproduction Reservoir Dogs reveals scene schizophrenia Schreber sense Senseless Shadow Knows simulated social Stone Subsequent references symbolic order symptom symptomatic temporality Thivai Thousand Plateaus tion trans Truman Show Underworld University Press York