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The Working Class in American Film: The Creation of Image and Culture by Hollywood i ...

Chapter :  Introduction
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The Working Class in American Film:

Introduction

When Barack Obama was elected the forty-fourth president of the United States in 2008, various observers from the academy to the popular media envisioned a new America that reached beyond the putative “culture wars” that had defined the political and cultural path of the nation since the 1960s. In the eyes of many and in the hopes of many more, the election of the first African American president was the beginning of the end of these cultural wars that have pitted two distinct visions of America against each other, one (orthodoxy) based on adherence to traditional moral values and the other (progressivism) rooted in the “spirit of the modern age” (Hunter 44).1 In a worst-case scenario, observers hoped that at minimum a truce could be expected in this decades-long cultural war that has divided America and exacerbated class and racial tensions since the late 1960s. Phrases like “a post-racial America” were bandied about as if the wars of words and deeds that had defined American culture, politics, and race relations for more than four decades had suddenly melted into the mist.

The irrepressible optimism of late 2008 was abruptly and rudely quelled when virtually unknown South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson barked,