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James Baldwin, Teju Cole, and Glenn Ligon

This essay uses Edward Said’s theory of affiliation to consider the relationship between James Baldwin and contemporary artists Teju Cole and Glenn Ligon, both of whom explicitly engage with their predecessor’s writing in their own work. Specifically, Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the Village” (1953) serves a through-line for this discussion, as it is invoked in Cole’s essay “Black Body” and Ligon’s visual series, also titled Stranger in the Village. In juxtaposing these three artists, I argue that they express the dialectical energy of affiliation by articulating ongoing concerns of race relations in America while distinguishing themselves from Baldwin in terms of periodization, medium-specificity, and their broader relationship to Western art practice. In their adoption of Baldwin, Cole and Ligon also imagine a way beyond his historical anxieties and writing-based practice, even as they continue to reinscribe their own work with his arguments about the African-American experience. This essay is an intermedial study that reads fiction, nonfiction, language-based conceptual art and mixed media, as well as contemporary politics and social media in order consider the nuances of the African-American experience from the postwar period to our contemporary moment. Concerns about visuality/visibility in the public sphere, narrative voice, and self-representation, as well as access to cultural artifacts and aesthetic engagement, all emerge in my discussion of this constellation of artists. As a result, this essay identifies an emblematic, though not exclusive, strand of African-American intellectual thinking that has never before been brought together. It also demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Baldwin’s thinking for the contemporary political scene in this country.

James Baldwin Review
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Living with scandal, rumour, and gossip

This book illuminates the personal experience of being at the centre of a media scandal. The existential level of that experience is highlighted by means of the application of ethnological and phenomenological perspectives to extensive empirical material drawn from a Swedish context. The questions raised and answered in this book include the following: How does the experience of being the protagonist in a media scandal affect a person’s everyday life? What happens to routines, trust, and self-confidence? How does it change the basic settings of his or her lifeworld?

The analysis also contributes new perspectives on the fusion between interpersonal communication that takes place face to face, such as gossip and rumours, and traditional news media in the course of a scandal. A scandal derives its momentum from the audiences, whose engagement in the moral story determines its dissemination and duration. The nature of that engagement also affects the protagonist in specific ways. Members of the public participate through traditional oral communication, one vital aspect of which is activity in digital, social forums.

The author argues that gossip and rumour must be included in the idea of the media system if we are to be able to understand the formation and power of a media scandal, a contention which entails critiques of earlier research. Oral interpersonal communication does not disappear when new communication possibilities arise. Indeed, it may be invigorated by them. The term news legend is introduced, to capture the entanglement between traditional news-media storytelling and oral narrative.

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Memories of cinema-going in the ‘Golden Age’ of Hollywood

research into the memory narratives of a particular local city press, the study argues that personal memory of cinema is socially constructed by its context to create certain culturally sanctioned discourses, in this case figured around age, community, and city identity. If the last two chapters raised issues of history and memory through particular historical and commemorative texts and events in the 1920s

in Memory and popular film
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Pleasantville and the textuality of media memory

calls a ‘media hall of mirrors’ – a film style dependent on the dizzying mix and self-devouring quotation of historical, mythic and media references – Pleasantville left itself open to criticism of narrative confusion and, more seriously, of demonstrating a lack of political and/or historicist depth. 8 While not argued from the same neo-Marxian position as Jameson, comments

in Memory and popular film
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Jameson’s criticism is something like that of a guest star. Pre-existing narratives, of institutional self-preservation or the long-running critique of the illusory ego, incorporate video into their workings while denying the possibility of other sorts of engagement. In Egoyan’s work, we find a more particularised account of how video changes, but does not destroy, memory, and thus how it changes, without

in Memory and popular film
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The Admirable Crichton and Look Back in Anger

point towards its ambitions, especially in the narrative (where ‘cinematic’ sometimes refers to disruptions to the causal chain of conventional naturalist plotting, or a more overt use of montage) or use of space (where it may denote a more fluid use of multiple fictional locations). ‘Cinematic’ may also refer to overt theatrical references to film genres (see, for example, the plays of David Hare). 5

in British cinema of the 1950s
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traversed the space between wunderkind, bête noire and anti-​ establishment firebrand within little more than a decade, and the story was only just heating up. In Natural Born Killers, Stone pushed the boundaries of mainstream acceptability towards on-​screen violence while articulating a caustic critique of the entertainment–​media complex. The dispute over the rating for the film highlighted a complex web of incompatible needs that touched on the limits of artistic freedom, the preservation of self-​interested studio business, and the effectiveness and extent of

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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less staging posts for institutional and historical assessment, than driving forces for more self-​conscious storytelling. Melodramatic devices in turn contributed to a shift in the way that female roles contributed to the narratives, resulting in a much richer examination of gender than in the early films. In Any Given Sunday (1999), Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) assumes a strong role that is not in any way propped up Lo v e by her sexuality. She is playfully undaunted by the sight of naked football players in the changing rooms, while asserting her own

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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publically quoted investment banks that had become overly dependent on their own trading operations as a source of capital. Zabel laments the changes, and is positioned in the narrative as a moral reference Mo ney point for Moore and the audience. Acquisition appears to be a key driver for James, Gekko and even Moore: they are all acquiring their material share of the American Dream. Tellingly, Moore’s decision to go after James is all about retribution rather than justice. Moore embodies a version of the American Dream, but one which exhibits a self-​serving morality

in The cinema of Oliver Stone
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Civil rites of passage

narrative. She is self-possessed throughout; progressively more tired but never defeated. She is a paradigm of the ennobled, resolute black citizen who has the decorum and poise that Jo Ann Robinson attributed to Rosa Parks, as signalled in the title of Parks’ memoir, Quiet Strength (1994). In the opening sequence she stands on the bus on her way to work. Her face composed. She is alone. The final freeze

in Memory and popular film