By David Cochran
B-movies, crime novels, technological know-how fiction- all of those varieties of mass media got here into their very own within the Fifties. brushed off through critics as dehumanizing to either writer and viewers, those genres unflinchingly uncovered the depths of yankee existence at a time whilst it was once no longer politically right to take action. David Cochran information how, on the peak of the chilly struggle, ten writers and filmmakers challenged such social pieties because the superiority of American democracy, the benevolence of unfastened firm, and the sanctity of the suburban family members. Rod Serling's The Twilight region similar tales of sufferers of tremendous, 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 gifted 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 Nineteen Sixties counterculture's problem to the status quo. In doing so, they blurred the traces among "high" and "low" paintings.
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Extra resources for America Noir: Underground Writers and Filmmakers of the Postwar Era
The mass society, so fervently promoted by many intellectuals in the 1930s, had arrived. But it was not liberating. The common man had shed his heroism, and conservatism made the taste of the proletariat insipid. "58 Going Underground The numerous pathspolitical and culturalthat had lain before Americans in the immediate postwar period had been largely closed off by the early fifties, leaving the Cold War consensus dominant. Artists had learned their best strategy was to avoid anything that smacked of political controversy or presented too dark and unflattering a vision of American society.
While necessary for understanding social relations, such abstractions still allow much of human experience to slip through the explanatory cracks. 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.
The emphasis on freedom of thought and inquiry was premised on an uncompromising anticommunism. But the most basic contradiction of Cold War liberalism, as Irving Howe pointed out in his contribution to Partisan Review's "Our Country and Our Culture," lay in the disparity between the situation it described and the solutions it proposed. ) In other words, within the dominant Cold War consensus, or at least the liberal half of it, a modest political program masked an underlying (though rarely consciously admitted) vision marked by chaos, anxiety, and alienation.