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Obama, addio?

N.1 Nuova Serie

Primavera 2011 - Anno XVIII


A cura di: 
Bruno Cartosio e Fabrizio Tonello

Editoriale

Ai lettori e agli amici di Ácoma - p. 8

Redazione

Con questo primo numero della Nuova Serie (quarantesimo fascicolo), Ácoma inizia un'altra fase del suo percorso ormai quasi ventennale: una nuova casa editrice, antica e giovane insieme come è oggi Editori Riuniti, e un passaggio da quadrimestrale a semestrale (che non comporterà tuttavia una diminuzione di saggi e interventi: il numero di pagine annuali rimarrà invariato). Ringraziamo di cuore gli amici della Shake Edizioni di Milano per avere pubblicato Ácoma per nove anni e per avere dato vita alla collana "I libri di Ácoma". Contiamo da ora in avanti su una maggiore visibilità e diffusione per un progetto che resta quello su cui abbiamo lavorato tutti questi anni: presentare molteplici aspetti della storia e della cultura nordamericane attraverso indagini indipendenti e rigorose, rivolte non soltanto al dibattito accademico ma anche ai non addetti ai lavori; pubblicare interventi critici e approfondimenti monografici sugli Stati Uniti e sui loro aspetti storici, sociali, politici, culturali e letterari. Ácoma continuerà a essere, sempre piú, uno spazio sia di approfondimento sia di intervento, non subalterno all'attualità ma capace di fornire chiavi di lettura in profondità e di lungo periodo. I lettori noteranno che qualcosa è anche cambiato nella struttura organizzativa della rivista. Bruno Cartosio e Alessandro Portelli, i fondatori di Ácoma, pur continuando a far parte della redazione, lasciano la direzione a Donatella Izzo, Giorgio Mariani e Stefano Rosso. A Bruno e a Sandro va un grazie sincero e un abbraccio collettivo per il prezioso e intenso lavoro di tanti anni. Ci auguriamo che anche in questa nuova esperienza i lettori, gli abbonati, i collaboratori ci accompagneranno e ci aiuteranno a fare una rivista sempre piú ricca e piú utile.

Obama, addio?

Le elezioni di midterm 2010 - p. 9

Fabrizio Tonello, Marco Morini

As largely forecasted, the democrats were defeated in the midterm elections of November 2010: the House majority switched to the Republicans, while the Senate remains controlled by Obama's party. Tea Party militants were instrumental in delivering many seats to the House Republicans but were responsible for the mediocre performances of their Senate candidates. The ideological scores show that the new House will be highly polarized between a far-right Republican majority and a center-left Democratic minority. Even if the tax package struck in December in the lame-duck Congress shows that bipartisan deals are possible, all indicators point to a political deadlock in 2011-12.
 

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Reality Check: Obama e i news media degli Stati Uniti: 2008-2010 ~ pp. 18

Oliviero Bergamini

Bergamini's article examines the way news media have dealt with Barack Obama during the first two years of his presidency, apparently contributing, or at least subscribing, to his "decline" in popularity. The article takes into consideration the coverage provided by different "mainstream" newspapers and television, cable TV, radio, and social digital media. It analyzes the way different media have interacted with themselves and with Obama's actual accomplishments in terms of legislation, economic recovery, and so on. The main argument is that Obama's apparently surprising decline can be explained partly with a previous overrating of his success in 2008 and underrating of the social, cultural and political conservative forces that are still powerful in American society and within the media environment. But it can be explained also by the fact that conservatives have proven to be able to exploit both the traditional republican-oriented media (especially the radio), and the new opportunities offered by social networks to promote a brand of populist, extreme right conservatism, while liberal media have not been able (or willing) to support Obama as systematically and efficiently as in the past, possibly as a consequence of the political and communication mistakes of the President. The future might bring about a new balance in the way "mainstream media" deal with the Administration, while Republicans will most likely keep exploiting the full possibilities of interaction inherent in the traditional conservative media and new digital means of communication.

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La razza conta: Barack Obama dalla campagna al midterm - p. 32

Gerald Horne
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Venuta dal freddo: Sarah Palin, l'immaginario, la politica - p. 48

Alessandro Portelli

Sarah Palin, Imagination, and Politics Sarah Palin, Christina O' Donnell, Newt Gingrich, the Tea Party, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, H.D. Thoreau, Scarlett O' Hara, paranoia, media manipulation, the "death panels" are among the key-words of this essay, which explores some of the most complex social and cultural trends of U.S. politics today by tackling literature, oral history, newspapers and blogs. Portelli argues that failing to consider the folkloric and grassroots basis of the Tea Party movement, as well as to posit widespread scepticism towards "central government" within American history and culture, or to downplay the long-abiding attraction of Americans for strong female figures is a huge cultural and political blunder which deserves - let alone needs - to be critically addressed.

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La triste storia dell'automobile e di Detroit - p. 61

Bruno Cartosio

It is well known that the financial and economic recession of the last two years plunged the Big Three American automakers into a dramatic crisis. The American government, the Canadian government and the United Auto Workers Union joined forces to keep General Motors and Chrysler on the market, but only after both corporations had experienced bankruptcy. Only Ford did not go bankrupt, probably because it had restructured heavily before the recession hit in 2008. The auto industry crisis did not happen overnight, though. The essay shows how the history of Detroit, where the Big Three have their headquarters, illustrates both the coming of the crisis, and its social consequences. Detroit's population has been steadily declining over the last decades, and the city is now what commentators call a "ghost town" - depopulated, full of empty lots and blocks, infested by rats, with the remnants of some of the old auto plants reminding observers of a long-gone industrial glory. The inherent thesis of the essay is that the demise of both the industry and the city are testimonies to the many faults and lack of vision of Detroit's corporate and political elites.
 

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Sull'economia dei deficit - p. 73

James K. Galbraith

The essay synthesizes a longer testimony James K. Galbraith, the liberal economist, presented to the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Commission established by President Obama in 2010 to study - among other issues - the causes of the present deficit and rising public debt. The main thesis advanced in the essay is that the present deficits are caused overwhelmingly by the financial crisis, which has provoked a parallel sharp decline in economic activity. In turn, two main consequences of the recession have been a drop in tax revenues and an increase in unemployment insurance, both reflecting the dramatic increase in unemployment and underemployment. Galbraith maintains that it is not "deficits caused by high unemployment" that are a problem. Rather, "joblessness is the problem". If this is true, then, the main task of government is not that of reducing the deficits - e g., by "cutting" Social Security or Medicare - but to fix the financial system and reconstruct finance, to stimulate the economy and to make public investments "as necessary to rebuild the country".
 

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Testo a fronte

"Nothing but the hurt left here". La guerra in Iraq nella poesia di Brian Turner - p. 79

Brian Turner, a cura di Floriana Marinzuli
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Memorie

Quelli erano i giorni - p. 90

John Nichols, a cura di Sara Antonelli
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Un mio ricordo di Howard Zinn, 27 gennaio 2010, ore 16,16 - p. 103

Daniel Ellsberg, a cura di Bruno Cartosio
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Saggi

Estetica etnica: modernismo asiaticoamericano - p. 109

Donatella Izzo

This essay questions the frequent polarization between the ethnic and the esthetic in contemporary Asian American theory, arguing that in many Asian American works, the esthetic, far from being a way of transcending the historical archives and political concerns of the ethnic community, operates as a means of engaging them creatively, while simultaneously challenging the dehistoricized, monocultural definition of the esthetic that is a legacy of modernism and New Criticism. The essay analyzes two such self-aware ethnic engagements with the modernist project and its implications: Monique Truong's The Book of Salt (2003) and Todd Shimoda's 365 Views of ML Fuji (1998).

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Tracce spettrali. Scrittura, gender e memoria nei racconti di fantasmi di Edith Wharton - p. 109

Manlio Della Marca

From Cotton Mather's The Wonders of the Invisible World to Toni Morrison's Beloved, America has always been a land of ghosts, a nation obsessed with the spectral. This essay focuses on the traces and tracks left by phantoms. Edith Wharton's collection of ghost stories Ghosts (1937) provides the background for an analysis of spectral traces informed by post-structuralist, feminist and psychoanalytic perspectives. First, the complex relationship between spectral traces, writing, orality, and gender is discussed. Then, following traces as a reading strategy is considered. Finally, the ways in which traces often hint at the reemergence of individual and collective memory - as well as unconscious desires - are examined.

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Desperate Housewives: Emma Bovary e "la legione lirica delle adultere" - p. 134

Alessandro Clericuzio
Building on Tony Tanner's Adultery in the Novel, the essay suggests some similarities between the TV series Desperate Housewives and the 19th century bourgeois novel. In particular, key elements such as social contracts and their transgression shape the European literary tradition and the 21st century television show. Some of the female characters in Desperate Housewives share Emma Bovary's approach to life and literature: Susan is a dreamy young woman in search of the ideal companion, Gabrielle transgresses both the economical and the sentimental orders of things, Bree believes she is someone she really is not - which is a direct sign of the malaise known as bovarysme. Gender issues, camp esthetics, and performance studies, show Desperate Housewives as a rich site for the investigation of the intertextual dynamics that make the TV series appeal to a very wide range of audiences.


 

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