Carnival Culture: The Trashing of Taste in America

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Columbia University Press, 1993 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 306 pages
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This study examines how the changes in publishing, movie making and television programming since the 1960s have affected taste, particularly what is considered vulgar. Show businesss, the industry of American culture, wreaks the most havoc on American taste by pandering to what most paying customers want to see. Twitchell's expose comes not to celebrate popular or carnival culture, as much as to answer questions about it: is vulgarity the result of repression or of freedom?; what is the relationship between machine-made entertainments and aesthetic values?; does television carnivalize or exalt cultural norms?; why do certain stories get told, and why do certain stories get told too often?; why are some of the most consistently profitable industries in the world those that transport audio and visual sequences we claim we can do without?; and why are today's A movies really yesterday's B movies dressed up with $50 million budgets?
 

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Contents

Introduction
1982
Untended Gates The Triumph of Vulgarity in an Age of Show Business
Paperbacked Culture How Candles Became Shoes
Peepshow America Hollywood and Popular Taste
Programming Television Reflections on the Electronic Midway
Vulgarity Victorious The Collapse of Cultural Hierarchy in Postmodern America
Works Cited
Index
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Edward D. berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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