The Eve of Destruction Adventures in Extreme Culture

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 7/12/2016
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books

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In The Eve of Destruction Peter Biskind reveals the ideological battles behind the violent and seemingly mindless escapism of 21st century popular culture

Wondering why we're constantly inundated with zombies, vampires, witches, aliens from outer space, extras from the Book of Revelation, and a Pandora's box of other supernatural creatures? Drawing on shows like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, films like Avatar and World War Z, and various other dystopian, and supernatural fantasies, cultural critic Peter Biskind explains why these formerly disreputable subjects have suddenly become mainstream, minting money and creating a vast fan base.

Rather than dismissing these fictions as the worst that mass culture has to offer Biskind reveals them as battlefields on which clashing ideologies struggle for advantage. Right assails left, left bashes right, and both gang up on the center. Biskind shows how the grand, bipartisan accord that defined post-war society broke down over successive decades, hammered first from the left by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, and Watergate, and then from the right by the Reagan Revolution, 9/11, and later the Tea Party. Where once we had consensus, we now have polarization. Extremism, which used to be a vice, has become a virtue-and a hallmark of our popular culture, even as it tears our political system to shreds.

Author Biography

Peter Biskind edited the bestselling My Lunches with Orson, a collection of conversations with Orson Welles, and is author of numerous bestsellers, including Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and Down and Dirty Pictures, as well as his seminal work on films of the fifties, Seeing is Believing. A contributing editor at Vanity Fair, his writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and Rolling Stone, among other publications. He lives in upstate New York.

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