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Heartland TV,9780814742938

Heartland TV

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 1/1/2008
Publisher(s): Ingram Pub Services


Winner of the 2009 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Katherine Singer Kovacs Book AwardThe 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-Americanor negativelyas backward, narrowminded, unsophisticated, conservative, and out-of-touchthe myth of the Heartland endures.Heartland TVexamines the centrality of this myth to television's promotion and development, programming and marketing appeals, and public debates over the medium's and its audience's cultural worth. Victoria E. Johnson investigates how the "square" image of the heartland has been ritually recuperated on prime time television, fromThe Lawrence Welk Showin the 1950s, to documentary specials in the 1960s, toThe Mary Tyler Moore Showin the 1970s, toEllenin 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 TVexposes the cultural function of the Midwest as a site of national transference and disavowal with regard to race, sexuality, and citizenship ideals.

Author Biography

Victoria E. Johnson is Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies, Visual Studies, and African American Studies at the University of California, Irvine

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction: TV, the Heartland Myth, and the Value of Cultural Populismp. 1
"Essential, Desirable, and Possible Markets": Broadcasting Midwestern Tastes and Valuesp. 32
Square Dancing and Champagne Music: Regional Aesthetics and Middle Americap. 59
"Strictly Conventional and Moral": CBS Reports in Webster Grovesp. 89
"You're Gonna Make It After All!": The Urbane Midwest in MTM Productions' "Quality" Comediesp. 112
"There Is No 'Dayton Chic'": Queering the Midwest in Roseanne, Ellen, and The Ellen Showp. 147
Fertility Among the Ruins: Reconstituting the Traumatized Heartlandp. 174
Epilogue: Red State, Blue State, Purple Heartlandp. 200
Appendixp. 211
Notesp. 213
Indexp. 243
About the Authorp. 262
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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