Red, White, and Spooked: The Supernatural in American Culture

Overview

America has always attempted to define itself through a network of invented myths and national narratives. Historically, this national mythmaking has focused on the building of the nation itself as a sort of grand adventure, as in the notion of manifest destiny, or the taming of the western frontier. This project has also naturally led to a focus on individual heroes, often playing the role of savior and redeemer in ways with clear religious resonances: Christ and Shane and Superman, for instance, all share key ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (3) from $31.99   
  • Used (3) from $31.99   
Red, White, and Spooked: The Supernatural in American Culture

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$50.00
BN.com price

Overview

America has always attempted to define itself through a network of invented myths and national narratives. Historically, this national mythmaking has focused on the building of the nation itself as a sort of grand adventure, as in the notion of manifest destiny, or the taming of the western frontier. This project has also naturally led to a focus on individual heroes, often playing the role of savior and redeemer in ways with clear religious resonances: Christ and Shane and Superman, for instance, all share key characteristics. At the same time, these superheroes have often been adolescents, designed to appeal to younger audiences as well. Other hero myths have been more down-to-earth, focusing on heroes who fight against evil, but in a more modest way, as in the case of the hardboiled detective. Red, White, and Spooked details the development of our national myths in an effort to try and see what these fantasies can reveal about what it means to be American today, and what we want it to mean.

Beginning with John Winthrop's city upon a hill sermon in 1630, American culture has been informed by a sense of its own exceptional nature. The notion of the Western hemisphere as a new world, a place filled with possibility and even magic, goes back to the initial voyages of Columbus, while the American Revolution gave even more impetus to the idea that the United States was a special place with a unique mission. As a result, America has always attempted to define itself through a network of invented myths and national narratives. Red, White, and Spooked details the development of our national myths which can be seen underlying the genres of country and film noir, the characters of Superman, Batman, and Spiderman, television hits like Deadwood and NYPD Blue, and the Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings franchises as well.

This culture-spanning investigation begins with a historical survey of supernatural and superhuman themes in American culture, concluding with the recent upsurge that began in the 1990s. It then turns to a number of thematic chapters that discuss various works of recent popular culture with supernatural and superhuman themes - such as The X-Files, Smallville, The 4400, Medium, Heroes, Lost, and The Dead Zone - organized according to the desires to which these works commonly respond. The object here is to try and see what these fantasies can reveal about what it means to be American today, and what we still want it to mean.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Booker succeeds in demonstrating how the mythology of the supernatural relates to several important contemporary political and social questions, such as prejudices against homosexuals, free choice, exploitation of workers, environmental destruction, and the development of nuclear energy or weapons."

-

Southwest Journal of Cultures

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313357749
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/30/2008
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

M. KEITH BOOKER is currently the James E. and Ellen Wadley Roper Professor in the Department of English at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of many Greenwood and Praeger volumes on television and film, including most recently "May Contain Graphic Material": Graphic Novels, Comic Books, and Film (2007); Postmodern Hollywood: What's New in Film and Why It Makes Us Feel So Strange (2007); From Box Office to Ballot Box: The American Political Film (2007); Alternate Americas: Science Fiction Film and American Culture (2006); and Science Fiction Television (2004).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction Culture of Longing - The Supernatural in American Culture

Ch. 1 Not Just a Job: The Longing for Adventure in American History and American Culture 1

Voyages of Discovery: American Adventure from Columbus to Jean-Luc Picard 3

The British Invasion: Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter Make It Big in America 27

Cool Magic: The American Postmodern Epic Fantasy 40

Ch. 2 Heroism in America: The Longing for Heroes in American History and American Culture 49

American Heroes and Antiheroes: Kings of the Wild Frontier 50

Hard-boiled Magic: The Vampire Detective 67

Girls Kick Butt: The Female Action Hero 82

Buffy Keeps It Cool 89

Teenagers from Outer Space: Teen Angst and the Superhero Narrative 101

Our Others, Our Selves: The Mutant Superhero 110

Ch. 3 U.S. vs. Them: American Paranoia and the Longing for Evil in American History and American Culture 129

Rosemary's Baby and the Horror Boom of the 1970s 133

The X-Files and the Postmodern Conspiracy Narrative: Mapping the Apocalypse 142

Apocalyptic Television at the Turn of the Millennium 149

Finding that Special Place: The Strange Enclave Narrative from Twin Peaks to Lost 161

Conclusion: The Contradictory Compensations of Popular Culture 171

Notes 177

Works Cited 183

Films Cited 189

Television Series Cited 195

Index 199

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)