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Good at Being Gods

Caleb Crain: Buckminster Fuller’s Visions, 18 December 2008

Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe 
edited by K. Michael Hays and Dana Miller.
Yale, 257 pp., £35, July 2008, 978 0 300 12620 4
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... completely were they forgotten that last year, when the environmental consultants Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger rebuked the environmental movement for neglecting the resources of economic growth and human ingenuity, they seemed unaware that there had once been a movement in America that championed both. Nordhaus and Shellenberger wrote Break ...

Moguls

J. Hoberman: Did the Jews invent Hollywood?, 7 March 2002

Hollywood and Anti-Semitism: A Cultural History up to World War Two 
by Steven Alan Carr.
Cambridge, 342 pp., £42.50, July 2001, 9780521798549
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... the former screenwriter Dori Carter’s potboiler Beautiful Wasps Having Sex, to studies such as Michael Rogin’s Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot.) Hollywood is captive to its own mythological origins. Gabler’s An Empire of Their Own sees it as the Jewish invention of a ‘shadow America’, an idealised vision of ...

Sucking up

Michael Rogin, 12 May 1994

Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War 
by John MacArthur.
California, 274 pp., £10, January 1994, 0 520 08398 9
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Live from the Battlefield: From Vietnam to Baghdad – 35 Years in the World’s War Zones 
by Peter Arnett.
Bloomsbury, 463 pp., £17.99, March 1994, 0 7475 1680 4
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... the government’s relation to television and press: far from being, like the old Hollywood Hays office, a mere nay-sayer, the state is a co-producer of images. Working creatively with the fourth branch of American government, the media, it aims – for the mass public at home, not those on the contested foreign ground – to substitute for war the ...

Angry or Evil?

Michael Wood: Brecht’s Poems, 21 March 2019

The Collected Poems of Bertolt Brecht 
translated by Tom Kuhn and David Constantine.
Norton, 1286 pp., £35, December 2018, 978 0 87140 767 2
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... you will go under if you don’t fight back Surely you must see that?It is perhaps worth having Michael Hamburger’s version here, just to hear a slightly different lilt: And I always thought: the very simplest words Must be enough. When I say what things are like Everyone’s heart must be torn to shreds. That you’ll go down if you don’t stand up for ...

Babylon with Bananas

Michael Newton: Tarzan's best friend, 29 January 2009

Me Cheeta: The Autobiography 
by Cheeta.
Fourth Estate, 320 pp., £16.99, October 2008, 978 0 00 727863 3
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... or distorts. Were these really the films we used to watch on Saturday morning television? The pre-Hays Code pictures seem much more erotic and vicious than I had remembered. The jungle is part idyll, part nightmare. Naturally envious perhaps, Cheeta downplays his rival Maureen O’Sullivan’s Art Deco sexiness. In those early films, she wears a costume so ...

Franklin D, listen to me

J. Hoberman: Popular (Front) Songs, 17 September 1998

Songs for Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs and the American Left, 1926-53 
edited by Ronald Cohen and Dave Samuelson.
Bear Family Records, DM 390, June 1996
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... manufactured mythology even as it built itself on the ruins of the Communist counter-culture. Michael Denning, in his long interpretative history The Cultural Front, has questioned this disdain. His notion of the culture of the Popular Front embraces sturdy proletarian sagas like Mike Gold’s Jews without Money and Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath ...
Blackface, White Noise: Jewish Immigrants in the Hollywood Melting Pot 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 320 pp., $24.95, May 1996, 0 520 20407 7
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... Is there anything stranger than a pop star out of time? Before Elvis Presley, before Michael Jackson, there was Al Jolson – ‘the most popular entertainer of the first half of the 20th century,’ as Michael Rogin describes him. Eyes wide and mouth agape, arms outstretched and face painted black, Jolson concludes his performance in The Jazz Singer (1927) down on one knee, serenading the delighted actress who plays his mother in a voice as strong and piercing as a foghorn ...

Divided We Grow

John Barrell: When Pitt Panicked, 5 June 2003

The London Corresponding Society 1792-99 
edited by Michael T. Davis.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, June 2002, 1 85196 734 6
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Romanticism, Publishing and Dissent: Joseph Johnson and the Cause of Liberty 
by Helen Braithwaite.
Palgrave, 243 pp., £45, December 2002, 0 333 98394 7
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... manuscripts to do with the Society, were edited by Mary Thale and published twenty years ago. Now Michael Davis has collected and edited all the many publications of the LCS. They fill four large volumes, to which Davis has added a volume of contemporary pamphlets, mainly by its supporters, and a further volume of Parliamentary debates and Government reports ...

Mandelson’s Pleasure Dome

Iain Sinclair, 2 October 1997

... This is truly a place of transformation, shape-shifting, metempsychosis. Protein soup (courtesy of Hays Chemicals) in which new life-forms can breed and take shape. The perfect rehearsal for apocalypse. I got along quite well with Mr Gibbons, as one does with someone paid to show you a good time. Someone you’ll probably never see again. He guided me to a ...

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