This is an innovative book that addresses the question of how consumers make decisions about what is good and what is bad in popular culture. An entertaining and informative guide to the range of aesthetic criteria that goes into judging mass culture's most celebrated texts and objects - from Batman to motor bikes, and pop stars to internet pornography Brings together a series of accessible and engaging essays written by connoisseurs of various areas of popular culture Tackles the core question of how consumers make decisions about what is good popular culture and what is bad popular culture Offers an entertaining and educative read for academic readers as well as purveyors of culture; moving beyond a 'greatest hits' list of popular culture to debate broader issues.
List of Figures. Notes on Contributors. Introduction: Alan McKee. 1. The Best Contemporary Mainstream Superhero Comics Writer – Brian Michael Bendis: Henry Jenkins. 2. The Best Batman Story – The Dark Knight Returns: Will Brooker. 3. The Best Serial Killer Novel – Red Dragon: Sue Turnbull. 4. The Best Australian Romance Novelist – Emma Darcy: Glen Thomas. 5. The Best Website For Men Who Have Sex With Men – cruisingforsex.com: Mark McLelland. 6. The Best Basketball Player – Michael Jordan: Thomas McLaughlin. 7. The Best Sneakers – The Nike Air Max Classic TW: Claire Gould. 8. The Best Action Console Game – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: John Banks. 9. The Best Motorbike – the Ducati 916 Superbike: Margaret Henderson. 10. The Best Propaganda – Humphrey Jennings, The Silent Village (1943): John Hartley. 11. The Best Villain in Xena: Warrior Princess – Alti: Sara Gwenllian Jones. 12. The Best Pop Princess – Kylie Minogue: Marc Brennan. 13. The Best Disco Record – Sharon Redd: “Never Give You Up”: Simon Frith. 14. Conclusion: Alan McKee. Index
Alan McKee is Associate Professor of Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology. He is the author of Textual Analysis: A Beginner’s Guide (2003) and The Public Sphere: An Introduction (2005).
From Batman to motor bikes, pop stars to Internet pornography, Beautiful Things in Popular Culture examines the range of aesthetic criteria that goes into judging mass culture’s most celebrated texts and objects. As the soldiers of the Culture Wars continue to argue whether it is better to study Shakespeare or television shows, this little book dispels the myth that consumers are unaware of quality, mindlessly consuming whatever is put in front of them. Smart and sassy, yet erudite, these thirteen essays are authored by an internationally renowned group of cultural commentators including Simon Frith, John Hartley, Henry Jenkins, John Banks, Marc Brennan, Will Brooker, Claire Gould, Margaret Henderson, Sara Gwenllian Jones, Alan McKee, Mark McLelland, Thomas McLaughlin, Glen Thomas, and Sue Turnbull. Together they probe the passion and excitement surrounding icons in popular culture.
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