High Anxiety

9780253207357: Paperback
Release Date: 22nd August 1992

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 432

Indiana University Press

High Anxiety

Catastrophe, Scandal, Age, and Comedy

Paperback / £20.99

... 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"
High Anxiety
A Method to the Madness

I. Differentiation
Passionate Consumption
"Betcha Can’t Eat Just One"
Death and the Market

II. Obsession (Not Just a Perfume)
"Rat Man"
Money and Culture

III. Deregulation
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
Critical Differences
Anita Hill

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
Diaster Studies
Seeing Is Believing: "The Great Quake"
Aerial Views: Operation Desert Storm
The Machine That Killed Bad People
Nuclear Disavowal

Part III: Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Gossip and Scandal
Secret Pleasures
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
Keeping Secrets

Part IV: Calculating Difference: The Body and Age
The Cultured Body
The Lover

PATRICIA MELLENCAMP is Professor of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the author of Indiscretions: Avant-garde Film, Video, and Feminism and editor of Logics of Television and three American Film Institute monographs.