Monthly Archives: April 2020

Barry’s Blog # 326: All Shook Up, the American Dionysus, Part Seven of Seven

Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. – Leonard Bernstein But what about Elvis? How do we understand that 32 years after his death (when I did the research for my book), 44 countries were hosting … Continue reading

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Barry’s Blog # 325: All Shook Up, the American Dionysus, Part Six of Seven

…our fire, our elemental fire so that it rushes up in a huge blaze like a phallus into hollow space and fecundates the zenith and the nadir and sends off millions of sparks of new atoms and singes us, and … Continue reading

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Barry’s Blog # 324: All Shook Up, the American Dionysus, Part Five of Seven

Historian Milton Viorst writes that the theme of the 1950s was “security: internal security (McCarthy), international security (massive retaliation), personal security (careerism). And yet no one felt secure.” Other factors would come later: Civil Rights and Viet Nam, which provided the … Continue reading

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Barry’s Blog # 323: All Shook Up, the American Dionysus, Part Four of Seven

Despite the anxiety of the nuclear age, peacetime unleashed a torrent of energy and domestic production. Large-scale government programs such as the G.I. Bill lifted millions out of poverty and into the suburbs. Yet something was missing. Television hinted at … Continue reading

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Barry’s Blog # 322: All Shook Up, the American Dionysus, Part Three of Seven

Just as Prohibition ended, Hollywood agreed to censor itself and suppress the erotic. Walt Disney attained huge popularity with his sanitized, asexual cartoons. In his movies, write Robert Jewett and John Lawrence, “Sex had become sufficiently innocent, trivial…that every family … Continue reading

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Barry’s Blog # 321: All Shook Up, the American Dionysus, Part Two of Seven

In the previous quote James Baldwin was describing what I call the myth of American innocence, the collection of narratives and images that have allowed most of us to live with the realities of race and empire and yet believe … Continue reading

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Barry’s Blog # 320: All Shook Up, the American Dionysus, Part One of Seven

For where there is dance, there also is the Devil.  – St. John Chrysostom Bobo-malay, shushu maya (Lord, make this body dance!) – Dagara, West Africa The Greek word xenos means both “stranger” (as in xenophobia) and “guest.” This etymological … Continue reading

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