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Selective Amnesia in Hollywood’s Imagined Sixties

Selective Amnesia in Hollywood’s Imagined Sixties

(p.3) Introduction Selective Amnesia in Hollywood’s Imagined Sixties
The Bad Sixties
Kristen Hoerl
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter introduces this book’s central contention that Hollywood film and television have taught audiences that capitalism and the traditional family have triumphed over Sixties-era resistance to corporate culture, structural racism, and patriarchy. Hollywood’s fictionalized portrayals of late sixties dissent routinely depicts radical protesters as problems that must be overcome to preserve national unity and the nuclear family. This introduction explains how fictionalized portrayals of Sixties-era dissent are forms of public memory that offer lessons about appropriate models of civic engagement in late-capitalist democracy. These portrayals are forms of selective amnesia, public discourse that routinely omits events and issues that defy seamless narratives of national progress and unity. The last section of the introduction provides an overview of the book’s case study chapters which are organized by recurring narrative patterns and character types across different media products since the early eighties.

Keywords:   the bad Sixties, public memory, selective amnesia, The Big Chill, television criticism

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