Category Archives: Arts and American Culture

Lecture 6 Notes (310/485)

Pinkowitz on Two Thousand Maniacs!

economics of regional exploitation film production

narrow profit margins/ low overhead including non-pro actors, etc.

drive-in theater venues as a marginal space/audience– note less segregated than other venues, not an “ideal” audience (the “classy” or normie-type audiences Hollywood studios were after)

other aspects of viewership: audience identification with the grotesque caricatures of Lewis’s film. an ironic identification as “redneck” “cracker” etc.

narratives often include characters who function as stand-ins for readers/viewers

ex. Lottie Mae and Beeder in the final image of Feast. the non-pro extras, residents of St. Cloud, who watch the dunking machine/boulder dropping atrocity

social content of Maniacs: a non-Southern version of the South but also references to CRM and “Massive Resistance” campaigns against it. racist violence of lynching (the atrocities against the Yankee tourists but also the toy nooses, off-camera torture/killing of black cat

note absence of Black  people in Pleasant Valley


Strap them kids in, give ’em a little bit of vodka
In a cherry coke, we’re goin’ to Oklahoma
To the family reunion for the first time in years
It’s up at uncle Slaton’s ’cause he’s getting’ on in years.

No longer travels but he’s still pretty spry
Not much on talk and he’s too mean to die
And they’ll be comin’ down from Kansas and from west Arkansas
It’ll be one big old party like you’ve never saw.

Uncle Slaton’s got his texan pride
Back in the thickets with his asian bride
He’s got an airstream trailer and a Holstein cow
Still makes whiskey ’cause he still knows how.

Plays that Chocktaw bingo every Friday night
You know he had to leave Texas but he won’t say why
He owns a quarter section up by Lake Eufala
Caught a great big old bluecat on a driftin’ jugline.

Sells his hardwood timber to the chippin’ mill
Cooks that crystal meth because his shine don’t sell
He cooks that crystal meth because his shine don’t sell
You know he likes that money, he don’t mind the smell.

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Into the Dark Chamber (220/415/485)


Date: January 12, 1986, Sunday, Late City Final Edition Section 7; Page 13, Column 1; Book Review Desk
Byline: By J. M. Coetzee; J. M. Coetzee, whose most recent novel is ”Life & Times of Michael K,” teaches at the University of Cape Town.

WHEN a colony is founded, wrote Nathaniel Hawthorne in ”The Scarlet Letter,” ”among [ the ] earliest practical necessities [ is ] to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison.” Prisons – Hawthorne called them the black flowers of civilized society – burgeon all over the face of South Africa. They may not be sketched or photographed, under threat of severe penalty. I have no idea whether laws against visual representations of prisons exist in other countries. Very likely they do. But in South Africa such laws have a particular symbolic appropriateness, as though it were decreed that the camera lens must shatter at the moment it is trained on certain sites; as though the passer-by shall have no means of confirming that what he saw – those buildings rising out of the sands in all their sprawl of gray monotony – was not a mirage or a bad dream.

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