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153 Segments




The Evolution of the Teenager.

Michael Barson is the author of the new book "Teenage Confidential: An Illustrated History of the American Teen (Chronicle Books, illustrated by Steven Heller). The book traces the evolution of the "teen" and the concept of the "teenager" which didn't exist before World War 2. The book also collects teenage artifacts, like movie posters, magazine covers, and advertisements.


A Frighteningly Provocative Book.

Book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews "Nightmare on Main Street" (Harvard) by Mark Edmundson about our culture's obsession with the Gothic.


Girls and Self and Body-Image.

Author and historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg. Her new book, "The Body Project," attempts to trace back through the century to discover why young women report unhappiness with their bodies now more than ever. Working with girls' diaries from the 1830's up to the present day, Brumberg outlines the shifting pressures that have altered the way females define themselves.


"Pornographer, Pundit and Social Outcast" Larry Flynt

A new movie about the Hustler Magazine publisher, "The People vs. Larry Flynt," will open at theaters this month. In addition, Flynt's autobiography "An Unseemly Man: My Life as Pornographer, Pundit and Social Outcast" was published this month by Dove Books. Flynt was paralyzed in 1978 after being shot by a man who said he was offended by an inter-racial depiction of a couple he saw in Hustler. In Feb of 1988, The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Flynt and Hustler magazine in a landmark libel case filed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.


America's Fascination with Murder.

Amherst College professor Austin Sarat, a Ph.D. in political science with a law degree from Yale University, is teaching a course on Murder which is the most popular in the school's history--with one fifth of the entire student body enrolled. It breaks the record of a course on Human Sexuality offered in the 70's. The syllabus includes selections from literature, film, and television like "Crime and Punishment," and "Macbeth," as well as "Pulp Fiction," and "Psycho." (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)


A Record that Changed the Course of Pop Music.

Cultural critic Greil Marcus. He is the author of "The Dustbin of History" (Harvard University Press) about the history embedded in cultural moments. He'll talk with Terry about one of the essays in the book about the song, "Too Soon to Tell," written by Deborah Chessler and recorded by the Orioles in 1948.


Marvel Comics Innovator Stan Lee

Lee is the creator of such Marvel comic book superheroes as Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, and The Fantastic Four. He joined Marvel comic books at the age of 16, more than 30 years ago. Lee is currently launching Excelsior Comics, an independent comic book division of Marvel Entertainment. He is also co-executive producer of several top rated television series including "X-Men." (REBROADCAST FROM 10/17/91)


No Celebrity Was Spared from Walter Winchell's Wrath

Walter Winchell was the man who legitimized gossip columns, tabloid news, and celebrity watching. He rose from a poor New York family to become one of the most read columnists, and eventually consulted with F.D.R. and Joe McCarthy. Writer Neal Gabler has written a biography about Winchell. "Winchell: Gossip, Power, and the Culture of Celebrity" helps explain the man who was the source of our current celebrity-obsessed culture.


Subversive Ideas Circulate in China's New Popular Culture

China scholar Orville Schell has written nine books about China, as well as contributed to magazines and television. His latest book, "Mandate of Heaven," examines the Tiananmen Square massacre and looks at how the younger generation will come to power. He says popular culture has become the newest arena for dissent and political change.


Conventional Portrayals of Women on TV Can Have Feminist Potential

Susan Douglas is a professor of media and American studies at Hampshire College. She has just written a book “Where the Girls Are,” that looks at women in baby-boomer pop culture. She explains how the media’s alternating images of stereotypical femininity and feminism created a kind of “schizophrenia” in American women. She talks about how this confusion has caused ambivalence in American women about what feminism means.


Writer Pagan Kennedy.

Writer for the Village Voice and The Nation Pagan Kennedy. Kennedy ("Pagan" is not her real first name) has staked out a niche for herself as a "1970's survivor and devotee." Kennedy has written an investigation of that decade, seen through its artifacts and social upheaval, "Platforms: A Microwaved Cultural Chronicle of the 1970's" (St. Martins). In the 70's she says, "we inherited this idea of recycling culture.


Adventures in Pop Culture Criticism.

At the recent Public Radio Conference in San Antonio, Texas, three Fresh Air arts reviewers swapped stories at a critics forum. Rock critic, Ken Tucker; commentator and book critic, Maureen Corrigan; and TV critic, David Bianculli, offered their thoughts on issues such as media hype and how to deal with it. They shared anecdotes about angry subjects of negative reviews who seek revenge against the reviewer. That panel discussion will be aired today.


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