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Culture nella guerra fredda

Numero 7

Primavera 1996 - Anno III

enlightened Bruce Springsteen. The Ghost of Tom Joad: tre testi

enlightened Culture nella guerra fredda

enlightened Henry L. Gates, Jr.: Il caso O.J. Simpson


Testo a fronte

Bruce Springsteen: Il fantasma di Tom Joad – pag. 4

Alessandro Portelli
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Tredici modi di vedere un nero. I significati del caso O. J. Simpson – pag. 12

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

A “jury” of thirteen African American artists, scholars, intellectuals examines the O. J. Simpson trial and its aftermath. While white public opinion was shocked at the discovery that the Black community had a different sense of reality, African Americans developed a set of counter-narratives to what was perceived as the dominant, and therefore not credible, version of history. On the other hand, the O. J. Simpson case also revealed fractures and differences within the African American community itself, especially along the lines of class and gender. The Million Man March, seen in the light of the Simpson trial, is another symptom of these differences.

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Avant-Pop, prosa degenerativa, cultura delle conglomerate – pag. 21

Ronald Sukenick

In the postmodern era, money and technology can no longer be thought of as art’s other. We live in an electrosphere where the computerized production of literature will continue to have deep effects on both the composition and consumption of books. This novel situation increases the possibility of writers becoming prisoners of the profit system, but also clears the space for new strategies of resistance and creation. Degenerative Prose, the new intergeneric synthesis of narrative writing, allows authors to break down the arbitrary configurations of conglomerate culture.

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Culture nella guerra fredda

La guerra fredda: un'epoca nella storia degli Stati Uniti? – pag. 28

Federico Romero

In the ongoing reconceptualization of Twentieth century history the Cold War stands out as a specific era only in the field of international or diplomatic historiography. Histories of the U.S. often refer to a “Cold War America” when discussing aspects of the 1950s, but they generally submerge such a limited concept within the broader framework or a “Post War America”, or they adopt entirely different periodization and interpretation (the “New Deal Order”, for example). However several phenomena that are not usually examined in relation to the Cold War (the 1960s insurgency, Johnson’s domestic reforms, the decline of a unifying set of American ideals etc.) could arguably be better understood in the context of the war-like ideology, culture and political-economy that defined much of post- war America. International history and U.S. history can both be enriched and refined by a deliberate, systematic effort of cross-fertilization.  

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Ricreare l'America: Hollywood e la politica della guerra fredda – pag. 38

Lary May

The author takes a long term view of movie industry in order to explain how it happened that Hollywood culture came to be so distinct during the Cold war years from earlier times. He considers first the ambivalence which characterizes post-war American cinema – an outright optimism and, opposed to it, the despair conveyed by film noir – and then analyses the evolution from the engagement of film-makers and actors in the 1930s to their abandonment of it due to the pressures coming from the “cold warriors” in the industry, the black list, Congressional investigation. While consensus finds its way in the “official” optimism, film noir – and abstract expressionism etc. – exposes the dark side of reality.

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Lista nera sul Tevere – pag. 50

Giuliana Muscio

Between 1945 and 1955, for structural as well as political reasons, Hollywood cinema underwent a deep transformation which encouraged a more realist style in filmmaking, and the institution of independent production companies to escape the restrictions of the studio system; leftist filmmakers were at the fore front of this movement. With the beginning of the witch hunt, many blacklisted or graylisted American filmmakers emigrated to Europe, while the number of American productions in Italy was greatly increasing. In Italy, those were the years of a heated neorealist debate, a peculiar expression of the cold war confrontation within cultural politics. Radical and liberal film- makers such as Welles, Losey, Huston, Rossen, Dassin, Berry, Endfield, Vorhaus, McLellan Hunter ecc. made films in Italy in the early 1950s, often as a first stop on their way to France or Great Britain. But the presence of these American leftist and often «realist» film- makers on the film sets in Cinecittà did not produce a homogeneous cultural project: in fact no American filmmaker participated in any neo- realist project. A historiographic mystery that requires further investigation.

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L'antiamericanismo nella stampa di sinistra francese, 1946-1954 – pag. 63

Marianne Debouzy

The essay examines the ways in which anti- Americanism shaped the attitude of the Left press in France in the atmosphere of the Cold War. Political polemics and the rejection of the U.S. cultural model generated a number of metaphors, which culminated in the image of a new “Nazi occupation” of France calling for a “new Resistance”. On the other hand, the Left press also emphasized a duality between a “false” and a “genuine” (good, and losing) America.

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Antistalinismo sovversivo: razza e sessualità nei primi saggi di James Baldwin – pag. 75

Geraldine Murphy

This essay focuses on James Baldwin’s “Everybody’s Protest Novel”, “Many Thousands Gone” and “Preservation of Innocence”. It sees them as African American contributions “to the larger postwar effort to repress the cultural and political legacy of the Red Decade”. Baldwin’s stance is thus viewed as consistent with the current anti-Stalinist liberalism of the Cold War period. At the same time, however, his use of “end-of-ideology rhetoric” can be read as a strategy (as one of the few possible strategies) to carry on the struggle for equal rights and thus to extend “liberal subjectivity to blacks and gays”.

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Poesia, pragmatismo e letteratura americana. Un'intervista con Richard Poirier – pag. 85

Giorgio Mariani

In this interview with Giorgio Mariani, Richard Poirier identifies as an originary peculiarity of American literature the effort to use language to suggest possibilities that language itself cannot fully sustain, as in the work of Emerson and Robert Frost. Literary pragmatism is defined as the work to reject power-bearing words and the exclusive attention to «substantives» in reading. This approach to reading allows the critic to deal with all aspects of a culture, including both popular culture and a «canon» of those words in which language absorbs enough potential meanings to be reinterpreted by succeeding generations.

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Città d'America

Fortezza Los Angeles – pag. 90

Francesco Dragosei

This is a trip through some of Los Angeles’ many hearts: from the neat (and menacing) lawns of Beverly Hills to the streets of Watts (still fuming with the memory of racial strife), through the luring and repulsive beauty of the Citadel of money and power. A dream of the future and the “most perfect of hells” prefiguring the doom awaiting the city all over the world, LA is probably neither. Perhaps it is only a unique California-grown anthropological mix that will not happen again.

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