The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink

The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium American Culture on the Brink From the far left to the far right on talk radio and the op ed page and Americans believe that the social fabric is unraveling Celebrity worship and media frenzy suicidal cultists and heavily armed

  • Title: The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink
  • Author: Mark Dery
  • ISBN: 9780802136701
  • Page: 454
  • Format: Paperback
  • From the far left to the far right, on talk radio and the op ed page, and Americans believe that the social fabric is unraveling Celebrity worship and media frenzy, suicidal cultists and heavily armed secessionists modern life seems to have become a pyrotechnic insanitarium, Mark Dery says, borrowing a turn of the century name for Coney Island Dery elucidateFrom the far left to the far right, on talk radio and the op ed page, and Americans believe that the social fabric is unraveling Celebrity worship and media frenzy, suicidal cultists and heavily armed secessionists modern life seems to have become a pyrotechnic insanitarium, Mark Dery says, borrowing a turn of the century name for Coney Island Dery elucidates the meaning to our madness, deconstructing American culture from mainstream forces like Disney and Nike to fringe phenomena like the Unabomber and alien invaders Our millennial angst, he argues, is a product of a pervasive cultural anxiety a combination of the social and economic upheaval wrought by global capitalism and the paranoia fanned by media sensationalism The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium is a theme park ride through the extremes of American culture of which The Atlantic Monthly has written, Mark Dery confirms once again what writers and thinkers as disparate as Nathanael West, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Sigmund Freud, and Oliver Sacks have already shown us the best place to explore the human condition is at its outer margins, its pathological extremes.

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    About “Mark Dery

    • Mark Dery

      From markdery page_id 130Mark Dery is a cultural critic He writes about American mythologies, American pathologies, the visual landscape, unpopular culture, masculinity, and dark matter of all sorts He is the author of The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium American Culture on the Brink 1999 and Escape Velocity Cyberculture at the End of the Century 1996 He edited Flame Wars The Discourse of Cyberculture 1994 , the anthology that inaugurated cyberstudies as an academic field and kick started the academic interest in techno feminism and black technoculture through Dery s trailblazing essay Black to the Future, in which he coined the term Afrofuturism His 1993 essay Culture Jamming Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of the Signs popularized the term culture jamming and helped launch the movement Widely republished on the Web, Culture Jamming remains the definitive theorization of this subcultural phenomenon Mark has taught in the Yale School of Art and the Department of Journalism at NYU and has been a Chancellor s Distinguished Fellow at UC Irvine and a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome Mark s latest book is the essay collection, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts Drive By Essays on American Dread, American Dreams University of Minnesota Press April 2012 Bruce Sterling wrote the introduction Boing Boing s advance praise calls it intellectual journey through our darkest desires and strangest inclinations Luc Sante says it s a trustworthy and entertaining analysis of the lunatic fringe, which constitutes an ever larger portion of the discourse in America today Mark is at work on a biography of the artist, writer, and legendary eccentric Edward Gorey for Little, Brown.

    662 thoughts on “The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink

    • Reading The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium is like attending a class reunion of the last decade you get to revisit all the things you kind of forgot about and all the things that you wish you could forget, like big boob jobs and Jim Rose Circus Sideshow He even examines those horrid daytime tabloid tv shows and validates their existence with some compelling reasons although not convicing enough for me to watch.The first chapter covers the gamut from the X files and Crag Baldwin to Umberto Eco Adorno T [...]


    • This is what it feels like when the End Times are Nigh which seems to happen every hundred years or so, and recently, about once a decade Mark Dery wrote this book of essays in the late 1990s, about the fin de millennium, and it s still equally relevant as our fractured, kaleidoscopic, socially networked to death decade of naughts draws to a close The essays explore everything from the Unabomber to killer clowns, placing disturbing 1990s American pop culture in a larger technological and scient [...]


    • Mark Dery is one of the sharpest writers on modern culture I ve ever discovered His feverish, post everything essays about American global technological millennial culture what he calls the pyrotechnic insanitarium, recycling a gem of Coney Island barkery reverberate with the right mix of the hip and the academic curmudgeonly, making this collection a joy for casual readers and sine qua non for futurologists, skeptics, and genealogists of the uncanny.Neither technophobe nor fool for the fake gol [...]


    • i re read this book and enjoyed it as much the second time its focus is really on some of the darker threads of the fin de millennium american culture end of the century apocalyptic schizo kinda stuff killer clowns, branding, post humanism, aliens, and conspiracies it is just a relevant now as it was when i first read it at the end of the 90 s it confirms to me that somewhere near the end of 2001 time started running in reverse


    • Similar in content to the superlative Apocalypse Culture anthologies, but oddly interspersed with Naomi Klein style economic critiques I suggest that you peruse the wonderfully written paeans to Coney Island and sideshow bodies, but skip over any page that devotes space to income disparity And read Apocalypse Culture first.


    • 14 years old, and as a compilation that means some pieces are even older Regardless, Dery s insights pry back the linoleum and reveal some surface truths about mostly American culture which can be disturbing Dery s takes a slightly askew angle and this approach brings forth truths than are in the words.


    • Required reading for how we went from Obama to Trump, from the 2008 image and figurehead of pure hope to the pyrotechnic insanitarium of 2016.


    • it s been years since i read this book, but i really remember enjoying the hell out of it i should reread this.



    • very interesting essays about some of my favorite morbid topics killer clowns, damien hirst and the xfiles its about the coming of the year 2000 so its a little dated but still relevant



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