Since the midterm we’ve covered a fair bit of territory, from postwar “domestic suspense” and film noir to the ghosts haunting American Empire to the struggle to build Paradise (or find asylum) in a fallen and violent world. Each of these focal points serves as an opportunity to see US American history and culture through a dark lens. The ground we inhabit has bones in it. Society’s benign surfaces conceal destructive forces and irrational appetites. The obverse of the Dream is a nightmare, and any effort to understand this nation and its people must confront the chiaroscuro character of US American life.