High Anxiety

High Anxiety : Catastrophe, Scandal, Age & Comedy

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I find this to be an extraordinary and original piece of work...Mellencamp moves through bodies of theory and bodies of texts in popular (and so-called high) culture demonstrating, in her readings, a common range of preoccupations...[She] offers readings of the terrain of contemporary everyday culture (and, at times, the others of everyday culture). Mimi White Operation Desert Storm, "I Love Lucy", Anita Hill, "Twin Peaks", Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Murder, She Wrote, Oprah, Geraldo, and Phil: these and other subjects come together to form an anxious mosaic in Patricia Mellencamps "High Anxiety". Framed by a critique of the temporality of U.S. television, "High Anxiety" is a narrative journey between Freuds texts on obsession and the cult of anxiety pervading contemporary culture. Mellencamps adventure in cultural criticism is personal, impressionistic, mimicking TV flow, and yet substantiates arguments with precision and flair.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 155.4 x 234.2 x 26.7mm | 666.85g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0253207355
  • 9780253207357
  • 1,482,395

About Patricia Mellencamp

PATRICIA MELLENCAMP is Professor of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the author of Indiscretions: Avant-garde Film, Video, and Feminism and editor of Logics of Television and three American Film Institute monographs.show more

Review quote

" ... acute look at the state of contemporary culture ... A humorous ... book, it yields rewarding advice for our perception of reality and fiction." - Back Stage / Shoot "Mellencamp's ease of movement between the conceptual and the commonplace is the great strength of this work... High Anxiety is an invaluable contribution to the cultural studies debate ... " - Art + Textshow more

Table of contents

Preface Acknowledgments Part I: Packaging the Difference: Franchise Culture oThe Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the UniverseO High Anxiety A Method to the Madness I. Differentiation Passionate Consumption oBetcha CanOt Eat Just OneO Death and the Market II. Obsession (Not Just a Perfume) oRat ManO Money and Culture III. Deregulation Econologic: oThe Luster of CapitalO TV and the FCC The Global Village or the New World Information Order? IV. Representing Difference(s) oEgad, ItOs PlaidO Not a Pretty Picture Critical Differences Anita Hill Part II: Beyond the Pleasure Principle of Television: TV Time, History, and Catastrophe V. Shocking Thoughts oJump BehaviorO: Rene Thom oFrom Libido to AnxietyO: Sigmund Freud VI. Disastrous Events Before the Fall, After the Fall: Baby Jessica and Black Monday Death, Shock, Art: Kennedy, Walter Benjamin, and Eternal Frame Sublime Visions: The Challenger Explosion Diaster Studies Seeing Is Believing: oThe Great QuakeO Aerial Views: Operation Desert Storm The Machine That Killed Bad People Nuclear Disavowal Catastrophists Part III: Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Gossip and Scandal Secret Pleasures Face-ism: oWomen through TimeO Trival Pursuits: Harping at HarperOs VII. Gossip Theory Scholars, Tourist, Ecouteurs Losing It: Roseanne and Oprah Taking Things Literately: Patricia Spacks A Cry in the Dark VIII. Gossip Law IX. Gossip and the Market Women and the National Enquirer Idle Chatter: Syndication and Tabloid Talk Loose Talk: Oprah, Geraldo, and Phil Any WomanOs Blues Shady Relatives: Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker X. Theorizing Affect ItOs a sin A Sexual Detour to Twin Peaks Fall from Grace and Narrative Absolution Keeping Secrets Part IV: Calculating Difference: The Body and Age The Cultured Body The Lover Not a Jealous Bone The Disciplined Body XI. Obsessive Subjects: Renifleurs WomenOs Bodies XII. Aging Bodies The Young and the Restless The Life and Loves of a She-Devil Murder, She Wrote Part V: Regime of Domiculture: Women and Situation Comedy XIII. Gracie XIV. Lucy XV. Jokes and Their Relation to TV Roseanne WhoOs the Boss? Murphy Brown Part VI: Countercultures: WomenOs Economies XVI. WomenOs Spaces/WomenOs Work XVII. Family Therapy Revising the Counterculture XVIII. The Seach for Signs of Intelligent Life Epilogue: The Condensed Version Notes Indexshow more