By David Cochran
B-movies, crime novels, technology fiction- all of those types of mass media got here into their very own within the Fifties. pushed aside by means of critics as dehumanizing to either writer and viewers, those genres unflinchingly uncovered the depths of yank existence at a time whilst it used to be no longer politically right to take action. David Cochran info 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 firm, and the sanctity of the suburban family members. Rod Serling's The Twilight area similar tales of sufferers of immense, 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 classification and wreaked havoc as soon as there. All of those artists helped to set the degree for the 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
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. " 61 At a time when modernist art had been largely canonized and integrated into the dominant consensus, the underground culture kept alive the critical impetus of modernism. 62 But the worlds of Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, Chester Himes, Patricia Highsmith, Samuel Fuller, and Richard Condon were filled with grotesque characters, products of a social order that twisted and perverted people physically and psychologically.
As Williams explained: "Practical consciousness is always more than a handling of fixed forms and units. There is frequent tension between the received interpretation and practical experience. Where this tension can be made direct and explicit, or where some alternative interpretation is available, we are still within a dimension of relatively fixed forms. " Art and literature, according to Williams, with their emphasis on multiple voices, irony, and juxtaposition, often provide the first indication of the formation of new structures of feeling.
31 According to Greenberg, kitsch is universally popular because it demands no effort on the part of the viewer and poses no threat to his fundamental beliefs. " 32 In the postwar period this view was expanded and gained wider currency among intellectuals increasingly distrustful of mass movements. Ex-leftists, simultaneously seeking to atone for their former faith in the masses while not altogether comfortable with their integration into the dominant cultural consensus, seized upon mass culture as a means of maintaining a critical stance toward American society, seeing it as the major domestic threat to Americans' freedom.
America Noir: Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the Postwar Era by David Cochran