Star Trek and Popular Culture
Television at the Frontier of Social and Political Change in the 1960s
Table Of Contents
- About the author
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- 1. Justice and the 60s
- 2. Nazism, Anti-communism, and Popular Culture
- 3. The Civil Rights Movement of the 60s , Anti-communism, and Man in the High Castle
- 4. Star Trek (Original Series) against Patriarchy and Jim Crow
- 5. Popular Culture and the Vietnam War
- 6. The Politics of Historical Memory
- Conclusion: The 60s and the Future
The 1960s (a.k.a. the 60s) remains a terrain of contemporary politics – with the values of the period embraced or rejected, as well as differently interpreted. Popular culture (television, movies) is an important means to understand, analyze the political issues, controversies surrounding the 60s – egalitarianism, equality (civil rights, feminism), as well as anti-communism (including the American war in Vietnam). In important and key instances popular culture (especially Star Trek [1966–1969]) was at the forefront of the progressive politics of the 60s. This book engages and analyzes the ongoing 60s through popular culture.
The 1960s is a pivotal period in American and world history – as the U.S. during this time turned away from white supremacy as official ideology. Also, the American public decidedly soured on U.S. military adventurism1 – as evidenced by broad public opposition to a military draft.2 Additionally, women (as a result of the feminism of the era) gained greater access to the public sphere and increased personal autonomy – non-discrimination (and anti-harassment) rules, abortion rights, no fault divorce.←1 | 2→
Kristen Hoerl, in The Bad Sixties: Hollywood Memories of the Counterculture, Antiwar, and Black Power Movements, deconstructs the U.S. popular culture treatment of the politics, seminal events of the 1960s.3 In deconstructing the popular culture on the 1960s Hoerl holds that the television series and movies on the period convey a conservative bias – something Hoerl does not define. What Hoerl seeks to do is stigmatize the genre of the broadcast iterations (television, movies) on the critical 1960s era. Thus, even as she acknowledges that shows, cinema explore (touch on) the controversies of the period Hoerl is seemingly determined to find flagitious motives underlying virtually every iteration of such popular culture.
In contrast to Hoerl’s deconstruction tactic, my approach to analyzing popular culture in relation to the 1960s is consonant with Hegelian philosophy. Georg Hegel (1770–1831) saliently philosophized about the Absolute.4 The Absolute is a fifth dimension where normative values (greed, hate, altruism, solidarity, fairness, etc.) inhere. Reality is composed of the Absolute – as the laws of physics also inhere in it. Humans interact with the Absolute through reasons in the world.5 Put differently, the Absolute (normative values and the laws of physics) creates paths of decision-making. Popular culture is philosophically significant because it allows people to cogitate reasons in the world – especially in the social, political realm. The creators of popular culture will often seek to offer the public authentic art, and much of the public seeks out authentic art. This makes American popular culture (in its finer forms6) a viable source material about reason in the world. Thus, I don’t seek to deconstruct popular culture. Instead, I seek to identify, analyze the reasons in the world depicted in it.
The ostensive purpose of deconstruction is to dismantle our understanding of reason as manifest through art – in all its forms.7 Marc Redfield, sympathetic chronicler of the deconstruction movement during its high point in Yale University, puts it directly when he notes (in part quoting the American dean of deconstructionism Paul de Man) that deconstruction “deconstructs aesthetics as ‘a phenomenalism of a process of meaning and understanding.’”8 Thus, the purpose of deconstruction is to challenge, disrupt our understanding of art as a conveyor, depiction of reasons of the world – that is, as “a process of meaning and ←2 | 3→understanding.” Simon Critchley holds that there is something of an ethical imperative to deconstructing texts as the cultural biases inherent in texts (including art) preclude real understanding across cultures.9 Again drawing on Redfield (in part quoting de Man), deconstructionism “exposes the fallacies of an educational program in which scripted contact with literary texts is taken to promote ‘the integrity of a social and historical self.’”10
- VIII, 120
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- Publication date
- 2021 (October)
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2021. VIII, 120 pp.