Escape into the Future
Cultural Pessimism and Its Religious Dimension in Contemporary American Popular Culture
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Baylor University Press
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This project began deep in the Clinton years, approximately the spring of 1998. The question facing the authors was why there were so many notices of discontent among American popular culture productions, even while the...
Chapter 1 Secret Agents: Visions of Escape, Glimpses of Hope
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The year is 2099, and the vast majority of what were once thought of as humans have ceased to exist in their original forms. Cybernetic intelligence has advanced to the extent that organic bodies are a hindrance; the soul, or...
Chapter 2 Do We Still Want to Believe? The X-Files and the American Struggle with Progressive Action
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The X-Files television serial dominated the conspiracy-oriented viewership of the FOX network during the 1990s, further developing the themes of imprisonment, confusion, rage, and ironic escape noted earlier. But there was another dimension: although the protagonists knew they were being hybridized...
Chapter 3 Perhaps Today: The Dialectic of Despair and Activism in Popular Evangelical Literature
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Evangelical prophecy believers sense acutely the diminished sense of selfhood that cyberpunk authors and the writers of The X-Files also articulate. Yet they add an additional dimension that grows out of their own condemnation of the direction modern society and its elite cultures have taken. Even though...
Chapter 4 God's Unwanted: Fight Club and the Myth of "Total Revolution"
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Many Americans do not fit into any of the ironic categories thus far described. Instead, an ironic rage fills them that has neither official rhyme nor corporate reason. It seeks the destruction of the given order, perhaps with the ghost...
Chapter 5 Relocating the American Dream: The Challenges and Ambiguities of Contemporary Cultural Pessimism
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This chapter and the remaining ones reexamine the themes of the previous chapters, placing the negative images in popular culture in the setting of wider views of the underlying issues by contemporary thinkers dealing...
Chapter 6 The Quest for Real-World Correlates: Sightings of Cultural Pessimism in the Domains of Scholarship and Journalism
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While New Age theoreticians, Right-wing dispensationalist resistance heroes in fiction, and Tyler Durden may differ on exactly where to put the accent marks, they all want to accentuate the negative. Economics gone bad for...
Chapter 7 The Question of Real-World Correlates to Fantasy Processes of Decline: The Deep Structure of Decay, or, Descent into the Engine Room of the Titanic
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Previously we pointed to the classic image of the Titanic as an established icon of decline and pessimism, known for not quite a century as the emblem of Western civilization colliding with catastrophe, its rational promises and...
Epilogue: Into the Great Wide Open
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We are indeed, as the words of singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg indicate, rebels without a clue. As we witness the indictment the President hands down to number forty-eight in The Prisoner, we rebel against something we cannot adequately...
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Page Count: 375
Publication Year: 2007