With Amusement for All

Author: LeRoy Ashby
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 0813171326
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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With Amusement for All is a sweeping interpretative history of American popular culture. Providing deep insights into various individuals, events, and movements, LeRoy Ashby explores the development and influence of popular culture -- from minstrel shows to hip-hop, from the penny press to pulp magazines, from the NBA to NASCAR, and much in between. By placing the evolution of popular amusement in historical context, Ashby illuminates the complex ways in which popular culture both reflects and transforms American society. He demonstrates a recurring pattern in democratic culture by showing how groups and individuals on the cultural and social periphery have profoundly altered the nature of mainstream entertainment. The mainstream has repeatedly co-opted and sanitized marginal trends in a process that continues to shift the limits of acceptability. Ashby describes how social control and notions of public morality often vie with the bold, erotic, and sensational as entrepreneurs finesse the vagaries of the market and shape public appetites. Ashby argues that popular culture is indeed a democratic art, as it entertains the masses, provides opportunities for powerless and disadvantaged individuals to succeed, and responds to changing public hopes, fears, and desires. However, it has also served to reinforce prejudices, leading to discrimination and violence. Accordingly, the study of popular culture reveals the often dubious contours of the American dream. With Amusement for All never loses sight of pop culture's primary goal: the buying and selling of fun. Ironically, although popular culture has drawn an enormous variety of amusements from grassroots origins, the biggest winners are most often sprawling corporations with little connection to a movement's original innovators.

With Amusement for All

Author: LeRoy Ashby
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 0813123976
Format: PDF, Docs
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With Amusement for All contextualizes what Americans have done for fun since 1830, showing the reciprocal nature of the relationships among social, political, economic, and cultural forces and the ways in which the entertainment world has reflected, changed, or reinforced the values of American society.

With Amusement for All

Author: LeRoy Ashby
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 081314132X
Format: PDF
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Popular culture is a central part of everyday life to many Americans. Personalities such as Elvis Presley, Oprah Winfrey, and Michael Jordan are more recognizable to many people than are most elected officials. With Amusement for All is the first comprehensive history of two centuries of mass entertainment in the United States, covering everything from the penny press to Playboy, the NBA to NASCAR, big band to hip hop, and other topics including film, comics, television, sports, dance, and music. Paying careful attention to matters of race, gender, class, technology, economics, and politics, LeRoy Ashby emphasizes the complex ways in which popular culture simultaneously reflects and transforms American culture, revealing that the world of entertainment constantly evolves as it tries to meet the demands of a diverse audience. Trends in popular entertainment often reveal the tensions between competing ideologies, appetites, and values in American society. For example, in the late nineteenth century, Americans embraced "self-made men" such as John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie: the celebrities of the day were circus tycoons P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey, Wild West star "Buffalo Bill" Cody, professional baseball organizer Albert Spalding, and prizefighter John L. Sullivan. At the same time, however, several female performers challenged traditional notions of weak, frail Victorian women. Adah Isaacs Menken astonished crowds by wearing tights that made her appear nude while performing dangerous stunts on horseback, and the shows of the voluptuous burlesque group British Blondes often centered on provocative images of female sexual power and dominance. Ashby describes how history and politics frequently influence mainstream entertainment. When Native Americans, blacks, and other non-whites appeared in the nineteenth-century circuses and Wild West shows, it was often to perpetuate demeaning racial stereotypes -- crowds jeered Sitting Bull at Cody's shows. By the early twentieth century, however, black minstrel acts reveled in racial tensions, reinforcing stereotypes while at the same time satirizing them and mocking racist attitudes before a predominantly white audience. Decades later, Red Foxx and Richard Pryor's profane comedy routines changed American entertainment. The raw ethnic material of Pryor's short-lived television show led to a series of African-American sitcoms in the 1980s that presented common American experiences -- from family life to college life -- with black casts. Mainstream entertainment has often co-opted and sanitized fringe amusements in an ongoing process of redefining the cultural center and its boundaries. Social control and respectability vied with the bold, erotic, sensational, and surprising, as entrepreneurs sought to manipulate the vagaries of the market, control shifting public appetites, and capitalize on campaigns to protect public morals. Rock 'n Roll was one such fringe culture; in the 1950s, Elvis blurred gender norms with his androgynous style and challenged conventions of public decency with his sexually-charged performances. By the end of the 1960s, Bob Dylan introduced the social consciousness of folk music into the rock scene, and The Beatles embraced hippie counter-culture. Don McLean's 1971 anthem "American Pie" served as an epitaph for rock's political core, which had been replaced by the spectacle of hard rock acts such as Kiss and Alice Cooper. While Rock 'n Roll did not lose its ability to shock, in less than three decades it became part of the established order that it had originally sought to challenge. With Amusement for All provides the context to what Americans have done for fun since 1830, showing the reciprocal nature of the relationships between social, political, economic, and cultural forces and the way in which the entertainment world has reflected, refracted, or reinforced the values those forces represent in America.

Immigration and American Popular Culture

Author: Rachel Lee Rubin
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814775535
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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How does a 'national' popular culture form and grow over time in a nation comprised of immigrants? How have immigrants used popular culture in America, and how has it used them? Immigration and American Popular Culture looks at the relationship between American immigrants and the popular culture industry in the twentieth century. Through a series of case studies, Rachel Rubin and Jeffrey Melnick uncover how specific trends in popular culture—such as portrayals of European immigrants as gangsters in 1930s cinema, the zoot suits of the 1940s, the influence of Jamaican Americans on rap in the 1970s, and cyberpunk and Asian American zines in the1990s—have their roots in the complex socio-political nature of immigration in America. Supplemented by a timeline of key events and extensive suggestions for further reading, Immigration and American Popular Culture offers at once a unique history of twentieth century U.S. immigration and an essential introduction to the major approaches to the study of popular culture. Melnick and Rubin go further to demonstrate how completely and complexly the processes of immigration and cultural production have been intertwined, and how we cannot understand one without the other.

Popular Culture

Author: Marcel Danesi
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 1442217839
Format: PDF
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Popular Culture: Introductory Perspectives seeks to define pop culture by exploring the ways that it fulfills our human desire for meaning. The second edition investigates current contexts for popular culture, including the rise of the digital global village through new technology and offers up-to-date examples that connect with today's students.

An Introduction to the Entertainment Industry

Author: Andi Stein
Publisher: Peter Lang
ISBN: 9781433103407
Format: PDF, Docs
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Whether it’s a favorite television show, an artist at the top of the music charts, a best-selling book, or a hometown sports team, we love entertainment. It’s big business and in this accessible introduction, Andi Stein and Beth Bingham Evans give readers a glimpse inside the industry, to better understand how each segment operates and the challenges and trends it faces. Each chapter addresses a different segment of the entertainment industry including: – Film – Television – Radio – Theatre – Music – Travel/Tourism – Sports The book is designed as an introductory text for entertainment courses and as an overview of the industry for those looking to pursue careers in the field of entertainment. A list of resources is provided at the end of each chapter.

From Traveling Show to Vaudeville

Author: Robert M. Lewis
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 080189994X
Format: PDF, ePub
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Many of the pieces collected here have not been published since their first appearance, making From Traveling Show to Vaudeville an indispensable resource for historians of popular culture, theater, and nineteenth-century American society.

A History of Popular Culture

Author: Raymond F. Betts
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISBN: 9780415221276
Format: PDF, Docs
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This informative survey provides a thematic global history of popular culture focusing on the period since the end of the World War II. Raymond Betts considers the rapid diffusion and "hybridization" of popular culture as the result of three conditions of the world.

Cheap Amusements

Author: Kathy Peiss
Publisher: Temple University Press
ISBN: 9781439905531
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The dilemmas of work and leisure for women at the turn-of-the-century.