By David Cochran
B-movies, crime novels, technological know-how fiction- all of those different types of mass media got here into their very own within the Nineteen Fifties. pushed aside by way of critics as dehumanizing to either writer and viewers, those genres unflinchingly uncovered the depths of yank existence at a time whilst it was once now not politically right to take action. David Cochran information how, on the top of the chilly struggle, ten writers and filmmakers challenged such social pieties because the superiority of American democracy, the benevolence of loose company, and the sanctity of the suburban kin. Rod Serling's The Twilight area comparable tales of sufferers of massive, 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 category and wreaked havoc as soon as there. All of those artists helped to set the level 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 resources for America Noir: Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the Postwar Era
A middle-aged man and his nineteen-year-old son invest their money in a portable oil rig. In drilling their well, they encounter a variety of mishaps: "The boiler blew up. The rig caught on fire. The mast snapped. The tools were lost in the hole a dozen times. " But eventually the well is drilled and begins producing a respectable quantity of oil. The father then asks what the son plans to do. The son replies that, of the millions the well is now worth, he will settle for $182,000. 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.
The emergent underground culture would build on this tension, stressing the Kafkaesque nature of the situation and deconstructing the reformist proposals of consensus liberalism. The Problem of Mass Culture For liberal intellectuals, mass culture represented another paradox: their professed belief in democracy was belied by their fear of cultural leveling. The concern over popular culture was not universal among liberal intellectuals, but even those who supported mass-mediated culture tended to view the process as a means for bringing high culture to the masses.
It took the very basis of the Cold War consensusthat American society fundamentally workedand challenged it at every level in terms of economics, technology, foreign policy, quality of life, modal personality, and race relations. . tell of a dark world below the placid surface, a world whose inhabitants tend to be grasping, dissatisfied, emotionally twisted creatures. . Worse yet, at the heart of it all, there is an implied lack of meaning. Unlike the settling of the West or the Second World War, the events transcribed by hardboiled fiction serve no particular purpose; they just happen.