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An Invitation to explore the Viaducts of our Minds

Ideology Critique in American Literature and Film during the Seventies


Sandra Schenk

Artists explored the dark places of the American experience during the seventies. After providing an overview of the rhetorical device allegory, Barthes’s concept of mythology and Foucault’s concept of power relations, the author establishes a connection between the works of art under discussion. The early seventies are represented by Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left, Peter Watkins’s Punishment Park, and Hubert Selby, Jr.’s The Room. The late seventies are represented by Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, Gustav Hasford’s The Short Timers and George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. The book traces a shift from relations between bodies and authority towards bodies and technology.
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Preface: To carry death in your smile is pornographic violence



To carry death in your smile is pornographic violence…

The 1970s are a fascinating and in terms of cultural turbulences an eminently virulent era. In the progression from modernity to postmodernity, the decade is a somewhat neglected phase that is too often taken to be merely ‘transitional.’ In this neglect, it resembles the 30s and 40s, which lie, similarly forgotten, between the high modernism of the 20s and the rise of the suburban dispositifs and life-styles in the 50s that will spill over into the 60s counter-culture. The 70s mark a similar gap, lying between the 60s, whose ideals are the exact opposite of a global capitalism and a similarly global hedonism promoted during the 80s.

In-between these decades, whose complexities and paradoxes have been charted in great detail, the 70s form, again like the 30s and 40s, a kind of cultural ‘terrain vague;’ a weirdly empty space lying in-between more clearly defined areas. Still, these forgotten cultural terrains were in many ways crucial. If the main inventions of the 30s were various forms of plastic, those of the 70s had to do with new media, such as the floppy disk, the liquid-crystal display, the videocassette, the cellphone and the walkman, as well as with the body, such as aesthetic protocols from early aerobics to liposuction.

It is with the full force of contemporary theory – ranging from Jacques Lacan, Jean Baudrillard, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Walter Benjamin, Paul de Man,...

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