Acts of Conspicuous Compassion
Performance Culture and American Charity Practices
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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“How fabulous is that?” purrs Ina Garten, referring to the steaming contents of the casserole dish held captive between her oven mitt–clad hands. Known more widely under the moniker the Barefoot Contessa, Garten is one of a stable of Food Network culinary superstars. Like her contemporaries...
Chapter 1. Dramatizing Distress: Sentimental Culture, Melodrama, and Nineteenth-Century Reform for the Deaf/Dumb and Blind
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The Connecticut Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb opened its doors to the public in April of 1817. The first of its kind in America, the crusade to instruct deaf/dumb individuals how to read and write flourished in the early decades of the nineteenth century under the efforts of the Reverend...
Chapter 2. Spectacular Benevolence: Theatricalizing the War on Polio with the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP), 1934 - 1945
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On January 31, 1940, New York City’s lavish Waldorf Astoria Hotel literally became a three-ring circus. The Saints and Sinners Club erected the “Society Circus” in the main ballroom, transforming the elegant event space into a massive circus tent featuring performers such as clowns, minstrels,...
Chapter 3. Wheelchairs and One-Liners: Televising Need in the Charity Telethon
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It is hour fourteen in the 1976 twenty-four- hour Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, broadcast from Las Vegas, Nevada, the glittering city turned perpetual slot machine and bastion to late capitalism. For the past thirteen hours telethon host comedian Jerry Lewis has sung, danced, and performed...
Chapter 4. Acts of Conspicuous Compassion: Charity in the Reality TV Era: "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
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The twenty-first- century charity imperative begins with a long camera shot that captures the outline of a stark, rugged Montana mountain range cut out against a supernova sunrise washed in orange, pink, and magenta hues. A closeup of wheat, the proverbial “amber waves of grain,” shivering in the...
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A pink bloom spreads across the ten-foot- wide wall of the home store Bed, Bath & Beyond like a psychedelic fungus. The unnatural fauna come in the form of nearly every gadget invented: spatulas, mixing spoons, pizza cutters, garlic presses, can openers, vegetable peelers, rubber oven mitts, measuring...
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Page Count: 216
Illustrations: 9 B&W illustrations and 1 color illustration
Publication Year: 2013