By Mark Dery
Cadillacs, Coca-Cola, and cocaine, presidents and psycho-
paths, Norman Rockwell and the maﬁa . . . the dream of
America without end unravels its codes, just like the helix of a few
J. G. Ballard, creation to Hello America
From the preface through SF legend Bruce Sterling:
"Dery...brandishes a Diogenes lantern because the the smoke thickens on each facet. ... Beset with Google erudition, [these essays] take on a dizzying set of topics--even in the essays, in the very sentences, there are dizzying arrays of issues. ... He's excellent at going into parts of tradition you wouldn't care to go to your self, and acting autopsies. He assesses every one bone and organ intimately. now not in a crowd-pleasing way--he doesn't prettify it, culture-industrialize it and construct a gift-shop on the door. Mark is sort of a Martian probe. he's high-tech. he's method available in the market, on his personal. He got here built with an onboard set of lenses and abrasion tools."
From the cultural critic Wired known as "provocative and cuttingly humorous" comes a viciously humorous, joltingly insightful choice of drive-by evaluations of up to date the USA the place chaos is the hot basic. Exploring the darkest corners of the nationwide psyche and the nethermost areas of the self--the gothic, the gruesome, and the carnivalesque--Mark Dery is sensible of the cultural dynamics of the yank madhouse early within the twenty-first century.
Here are essays at the pornographic fantasies of Star Trek fanatics, fb as Limbo of the misplaced, George W. Bush's worry of his internal queer, the theme-parking of the Holocaust, the homoerotic subtext of the tremendous Bowl, the hidden agendas of IQ exams, Santa's mystery kinship with devil, the sadism of dentists, Hitler's afterlife on YouTube, the sexual identification of 2001's HAL, the suicide word regarded as a literary style, the surrealist poetry of robotic unsolicited mail, the zombie apocalypse, woman Gaga, the Church of Euthanasia, toy weapons within the dream lives of yank boys, and the polymorphous perversity of Madonna's significant toe.
Dery casts a serious eye at the authorized order of items, boldly crossing into the highbrow no-fly zones demarcated via cultural warriors on each side of America's ideological divide: controversy-phobic company media, blinkered educational elites, and middlebrow tastemakers. Intellectually omnivorous and promiscuously interdisciplinary, Dery's writing is a generalist's accountable excitement in an age of nanospecialization and area of interest advertising. From Menckenesque polemics on American society and deft deconstructions of popular culture to unflinching own essays during which Dery turns his scalpel-sharp wit on himself, I must never imagine undesirable Thoughts is a head-spinning highbrow experience via American desires and American nightmares.
Note: retail caliber PDF; bookmarked, contains TOC.
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Extra resources for I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
He’s a photogenic poster boy for the new social Darwinism. 5 Dead on their feet, zombies began as a glassy-eyed metaphor for the plight of Haiti’s human chattel, forced to do the boss’s bidding even in death. ”6 Like Frankenstein, a working stiff with neckbolts, ready-made for the Fordist factory, zombies are wage slaves. A solitary hunter, the vampire is well suited to Ayn Randian fantasies of Promethean captains of industry; self-made masters of their own destiny, they need no convincing on the Virtues of Selﬁshness.
In this respect, disco is very much like another profoundly ambiguous aspect of male gay culture, camp. ” True that. Yes, we’re all lost in the supermarket of commodity culture, and yes, there are pockets of subcultural resistance lurking here and there; the alchemy of audience appropriation can transmute even the most banal or brain-dead pop ﬂotsam into something rich and strange. For all I know, bedroom-wall shrines to Gaga, all over America, are serving as screens for the projection of empowering fantasies by teenage weirdos who will grow up to remake pop in their own, even weirder images.
Every year, the Video Music Awards is more and more showbizzy—Pink did her song on a trapeze! And then she topped herself at the Grammies with pure Las Vegas/ 42 ALADDIN SANE CALLED. Cirque du Soleil-type acrobatics, spinning on a vertical wire thing that I can’t even describe. Even the weird-glamor/arty artiﬁce Gaga’s about is all very familiar, after Leigh Bowery (’80s) and Alexander McQueen and Marilyn Manson (’90s) and Fischerspooner (early Noughties). It doesn’t have the same impact. The one thing she did that really entertained me and that did have a frisson was the whole escapade with the plastic penis, is she a hermaphrodite, etc.