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Heartland TV Prime Time Television and the Struggle for U. S. Identity

ISBN-10: 0814742939
ISBN-13: 9780814742938
Edition: 2007
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Description: A groundbreaking book, highly original in concept and persuasive in its execution. Johnson elegantly rewrites the history of American television with an eye to its geographical imaginary. Anna McCarthy, New York University The Midwest of popular  More...

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Book details

List price: $24.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 1/1/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 262
Size: 5.75" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.836
Language: English

A groundbreaking book, highly original in concept and persuasive in its execution. Johnson elegantly rewrites the history of American television with an eye to its geographical imaginary. Anna McCarthy, New York University The Midwest of popular imagination is a Heartland characterized by traditional cultural values and mass market dispositions. Whether cast positively as authentic, pastoral, populist, hardworking, and all-American or negatively as backward, narrowminded, unsophisticated, conservative, and out-of-touch the myth of the Heartland endures. Heartland TV examines the centrality of this myth to televisions promotion and development, programming and marketing appeals, and public debates over the mediums and its audiences cultural worth. Victoria E. Johnson investigates how the square image of the heartland has been ritually recuperated on prime time television, from The Lawrence Welk Show in the 1950s, to documentary specials in the 1960s, to The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the 1970s, to Ellen in the 1990s. She also examines news specials on the Oklahoma City bombing to reveal how that city has been inscribed as the epitome of a timeless, pastoral heartland, and concludes with an analysis of network branding practices and appeals to an imagined red state audience. Johnson argues that non-white, queer, and urban culture is consistently erased from depictions of the Midwest in order to reinforce its reassuring image as white and straight. Through analyses of policy, industry discourse, and case studies of specific shows, Heartland TV exposes the cultural function of the Midwest as a site of national transference and disavowal with regard to race, sexuality, and citizenship ideals.

Acknowledgments
Introduction: TV, the Heartland Myth, and the Value of Cultural Populism
"Essential, Desirable, and Possible Markets": Broadcasting Midwestern Tastes and Values
Square Dancing and Champagne Music: Regional Aesthetics and Middle America
"Strictly Conventional and Moral": CBS Reports in Webster Groves
"You're Gonna Make It After All!": The Urbane Midwest in MTM Productions' "Quality" Comedies
"There Is No 'Dayton Chic'": Queering the Midwest in Roseanne, Ellen, and The Ellen Show
Fertility Among the Ruins: Reconstituting the Traumatized Heartland
Epilogue: Red State, Blue State, Purple Heartland
Appendix
Notes
Index
About the Author

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