The American Success Myth on Film

Author: Julie Levinson
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 0230363369
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Contemporary cultural narratives, like ancient myths, speak to our common aspirations, anxieties, and perplexities. These ritually retold stories help to create a sense of communal identity. The American Success Myth on Film considers how movies, as bearers of modern myths, have illuminated – if not resolved – the ideological contradictions at the heart of the American idea of success. In examining the enduring appeal that the success myth exerts on our collective imagination, it highlights the central role that films have played in the ongoing cultural conversation about success and work in America. Analyses of a range of movies from the late 1920s to the present are grounded in the history of rags-to-riches tales and in a consideration of the social functions of myth. This expansive analysis of the American success myth exposes the insistent, but sometimes implicit, attitudes toward success that infuse our cultural narratives and, not incidentally, underlie our national self-image, our public discourse, and our personal ideals.

The American Success Myth on Film

Author: J. Levinson
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9781349348916
Format: PDF, ePub
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In examining the enduring appeal that rags-to-riches stories exert on our collective imagination, this book highlights the central role that films have played in the ongoing cultural discourse about success and work in America.

Ragged Dick

Author: Horatio Alger
Publisher: The Floating Press
ISBN: 1775414078
Format: PDF
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Originally published in serialized form, Ragged Dick is the type of heartwarming young-adult novel for which Horatio Alger is well-known. The story follows the adventures of the eponymous Dick, a young shoe polisher who overcomes his low circumstances and rises through the ranks of society by dint of his diligence, persistence, and general good cheer.

Pixar s America

Author: Dietmar Meinel
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319316346
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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This book examines the popular and critically acclaimed films of Pixar Animation Studios in their cultural and historical context. Whether interventionist sheriff dolls liberating oppressed toys (Toy Story) or exceptionally talented rodents hoping to fulfill their dreams (Ratatouille), these cinematic texts draw on popular myths and symbols of American culture. As Pixar films refashion traditional American figures, motifs and narratives for contemporary audiences, this book looks at their politics - from the frontier myth in light of traditional gender roles (WALL-E) to the notion of voluntary associations and neoliberalism (The Incredibles). Through close readings, this volume considers the aesthetics of digital animation, including voice-acting and the simulation of camera work, as further mediations of the traditional themes and motifs of American culture in novel form. Dietmar Meinel explores the ways in which Pixar films come to reanimate and remediate prominent myths and symbols of American culture in all their cinematic, ideological and narrative complexity.

Intertextual Encounters in American Fiction Film and Popular Culture

Author: Michael Dunne
Publisher: Popular Press
ISBN: 9780879728489
Format: PDF, ePub
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Intertextual encounters occur whenever an author or the author's text recognizes, references, alludes to, imitates, parodies, or otherwise elicits an audience member's familiarity with other texts. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Nathanael West use the fiction of Horatio Alger, Jr., as an intertext in their novels, The Great Gatsby and A Cool Million. Callie Khouri and Ridley Scott use the buddy-road-picture genre as an intertext for their Thelma and Louise. In all these cases, intertextual encounters take place between artists, between texts, between texts and audiences, between artists and audiences. Michael Dunne investigates works from the 1830s to the 1990s and from the canonical American novel to Bugs Bunny and Jerry Seinfeld.

American Film and Society Since 1945

Author: Leonard Quart
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780275967437
Format: PDF, ePub
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Although films rarely act as mirror reflections of everyday reality, they are, nevertheless, powerful cultural expressions of the dreams and desires of the American public. In the third edition of their seminal work, Leonard Quart and Albert Auster provide a complete post-World War II survey of American cinema and its often complex and contradictory values. No other work provides such an exhaustive and rigorous account of this parallel history of the United States, and the breadth and depth of this latest edition will hold appeal for scholars, students, and general readers alike.

The Meritocracy Myth

Author: Stephen J. McNamee
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
ISBN: 1442219831
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The Meritocracy Myth challenges the widely held American belief in meritocracy—that people get out of the system what they put into it based on individual merit. The third edition has been revised and streamlined, with fresh examples and updated statistical information throughout. Chapters eight and nine have been combined into a comprehensive chapter about discrimination as a non-merit barrier to upward mobility. The book also features a new section on “The Great Recession.” The Meritocracy Myth examines talent, attitude, work ethic, and character as elements of merit, and evaluates the effect of non-merit factors such as social status, race, heritage, and wealth on meritocracy. A compelling book on an often-overlooked topic, The Meritocracy Myth has become a classroom classic to introduce students to this provocative topic.

The Self Made Myth

Author: Brian Miller
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
ISBN: 1609945085
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The Self-Made Myth exposes the false claim that business success is the result of heroic individual effort with little or no outside help. Brian Miller and Mike Lapham bust the myth and present profiles of business leaders who recognize the public investments and supports that made their success possible—including Warren Buffett, Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s, New Belgium Brewing CEO Kim Jordan, and others. The book also thoroughly demolishes the claims of supposedly self-made individuals such as Donald Trump and Ross Perot. How we view the creation of wealth and individual success is critical because it shapes our choices on taxes, regulation, public investments in schools and infrastructure, CEO pay, and more. It takes a village to raise a business—it’s time to recognize that fact.

Evil Arabs in American Popular Film

Author: Tim Jon Semmerling
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 0292795734
Format: PDF
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The "evil" Arab has become a stock character in American popular films, playing the villain opposite American "good guys" who fight for "the American way." It's not surprising that this stereotype has entered American popular culture, given the real-world conflicts between the United States and Middle Eastern countries, particularly since the oil embargo of the 1970s and continuing through the Iranian hostage crisis, the first and second Gulf Wars, and the ongoing struggle against al-Qaeda. But when one compares the "evil" Arab of popular culture to real Arab people, the stereotype falls apart. In this thought-provoking book, Tim Jon Semmerling further dismantles the "evil" Arab stereotype by showing how American cultural fears, which stem from challenges to our national ideologies and myths, have driven us to create the "evil" Arab Other. Semmerling bases his argument on close readings of six films (The Exorcist, Rollover, Black Sunday, Three Kings, Rules of Engagement, and South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut), as well as CNN's 9/11 documentary America Remembers. Looking at their narrative structures and visual tropes, he analyzes how the films portray Arabs as threatening to subvert American "truths" and mythic tales--and how the insecurity this engenders causes Americans to project evil character and intentions on Arab peoples, landscapes, and cultures. Semmerling also demonstrates how the "evil" Arab narrative has even crept into the documentary coverage of 9/11. Overall, Semmerling's probing analysis of America's Orientalist fears exposes how the "evil" Arab of American popular film is actually an illusion that reveals more about Americans than Arabs.