... acute look at the state of contemporary culture... A humorous... book, it yields rewarding advice for our perception of reality and fiction." —Back Stage / Shoot
Mellencamp’s ease of movement between the conceptual and the commonplace is the great strength of this work.... High Anxiety is an invaluable contribution to the cultural studies debate... " —Art + Text
Written with wit and flair, High Anxiety is a critique of the temporality of U.S. television, a narrative journey between Freud’s texts on obsession and the cult of anxiety pervading contemporary culture. Operation Desert Storm, I Love Lucy, Anita Hill, Twin Peaks, and Oprah are a few of the subjects which form this "anxious" mosaic of popular culture.
Part I: Packaging the Difference: Franchise Culture
The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe"
A Method to the Madness
"Betcha Can’t Eat Just One"
Death and the Market
II. Obsession (Not Just a Perfume)
Money and Culture
Econologic: "The Luster of Capital"
TV and the FCC
The Global Village or the New World Information Order?
IV. Representing Difference(s)
"Egad, It’s Plaid"
Not a Pretty Picture
Part II: Beyond the Pleasure Principle of Television: TV Time, History, and Catastrophe
V. Shocking Thoughts
"Jump Behavior": Rene Thom
"From Libido to Anxiety": Sigmund Freud
VI. Disastrous Events
Before the Fall, After the Fall: Baby Jessica and Black Monday
Death, Shock, Art: Kennedy, Walter Benjamin, and Eternal Frame
Sublime Visions: The Challenger Explosion
Seeing Is Believing: "The Great Quake"
Aerial Views: Operation Desert Storm
The Machine That Killed Bad People
Part III: Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Gossip and Scandal
Face-ism: "Women through Time"
Trival Pursuits: Harping at Harper’s
VII. Gossip Theory
Scholars, Tourist, Ecouteurs
Losing It: Roseanne and Oprah
Taking Things Literately: Patricia Spacks
A Cry in the Dark
VIII. Gossip Law
IX. Gossip and the Market
Women and the National Enquirer
Idle Chatter: Syndication and Tabloid Talk
Loose Talk: Oprah, Geraldo, and Phil
Any Woman’s Blues
Shady Relatives: Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker
X. Theorizing Affect
It’s a sin
A Sexual Detour to Twin Peaks
Fall from Grace and Narrative Absolution
Part IV: Calculating Difference: The Body and Age
The Cultured Body