Cultural Studies

Download Dangerous Men, Dangerous Media: Constructing Ethnicity, Race by Laura Cook Kenna PDF

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By Laura Cook Kenna

This dissertation historicizes gangster photographs and their reception, analyzing a large
range of media together with The Untouchablestelevision sequence; Frank Sinatra’s degree
persona; The Godfather and its Blaxploitation cousin, The Black Godfather; gangster rap;
and The Sopranos. in addition to media content material, I research protests opposed to the gangster
(waged by means of Italian- and African-American teams and through media watchdogs) in addition to
popular and scholarly efforts to interpret the gangster’s which means. additional, I learn the
popular knowing of the media within which the gangster seemed (e.g., anxieties over
television’s behavioral results or estimations of rap’s “realness”).
My learn makes major arguments approximately media and id and medium and
meaning. I argue that gangster photos operated as siteand stake within the cultural
construction of the Italian- or African-American identities they represented. instead of
survey gangster pictures for regular deviation or ideological consistency, I learn how
they incited struggles over the which means of ethnic or racial distinction in the US. My paintings
relies on archival study in fraternal organizationrecords, Italian- and African-American
media retailers, renowned press, and Congressional hearings to chart how the movement of
gangster photographs provoked discussions approximately and (re)articulations of nationwide identification,
masculinity, otherness, and the influence of media upon society. moment, I argue that the
popular buildings of other mediums deeply affected the translation of gangster
images while these buildings have been formed by way of different meanings attributed to “the
gangster.” As a perennially renowned photograph of masculinist, violent, capitalist increase that
also mapped that ethos onto ethnically or racially unique males, the gangster snapshot served
as fodder and discussion board for revisiting fears of media’s effect starting from stereotyping to the
emulation of legal habit. Gangster photographs, in spite of the fact that, even have been extensively
acclaimed as “authentic” expressions of culturally specific identities—from Seventies ethnic
auteurs to Nineteen Nineties rappers. those competing structures of media types expert the
interpretation of gangster photos and motivated the results of boycotts, executive
hearings, and different thoughts for (en)countering the gangster. therefore, my two-fold argument means that Americans’ understandings of media and of ethnic and racial distinction have co-informed each other within the post-WWII interval.

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Additional resources for Dangerous Men, Dangerous Media: Constructing Ethnicity, Race and Media's Impact through the Gangster Image, 1959-2007

Sample text

Within these texts, African-American gangsters stood up to white power structures, often signified in part by the Italian-American Mafia, as well as to black activists. 36 Thus, the blaxploitation gangster, and the protests surrounding this image, Shana Alexander, "Grandfather of All Cool Actors Becomes the Godfather," Life, March 10 1972. 28 represented a tension between individual upward mobility and expressions of prowess (including violence and sexuality) and the demands of racial solidarity and community consciousness.

55. 11 The real-life Eliot Ness, contrary to this televised version, was transferred after Capone’s trial and thus precluded from pursuing Nitti or the rest of the Capone organization. The show similarly repackaged actual crimes, not just actual criminals, to extend its allusions to reality. The first episode of the first season (1959) entitled “The Empty Chair” depicted a barbershop murder very much like the famous and famously photographed execution-killing of Albert Anastasia. 12 Thus, the show incorporated names and incidents familiar to its adult audience by virtue of the news coverage that such sensational real-life stories and characters had received.

39. ," The Washington Post, Jan 27 1961. 28 The strength of The Untouchables’ ratings position for season two was an issue when CBS announced that its show Person to Person would vie in the same time slot. While he believed that his series would be fine, producer Perry Lafferty conceded 39 conclusion of season three, Desilu renegotiated Robert Stack’s expiring contract for more episodes. 30 The fourth season, nevertheless, proved The Untouchables’ last. That last fall, the press touted changes to the series that viewers could expect to notice right away.

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