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153 Segments




The Life and Death of Superman

On the occasion of end of the Superman comic, language commentator Geoffrey Nunberg considers the origin of the word "Superman," and how "super" began to be used in other ways.


A Semiotic Reading of American Culture

Critic Maureen Corrigan reviews "American Mythologies" by Marshall Blonsky, which seeks to recover the meaning behind the totality of American cultural production, from fast food to news anchors to pornography. Corrigan admires the project, but says Blonsky doesn't seem to like or respect his subjects.


The Pop Culture Residue of the Cold War.

Now that the Cold War's over, Pop culture scholar Michael Barson has written "Better Dead Than Red! A Nostalgic Look At The Golden Years Of Russiaphobia, Red-Baiting, And Other Commie Madness." (Hyperion) It's a look at how popular culture fueled public hysteria during the cold war -- from the Children's Crusade Against Communism bubble gum card series to the Hollywood production "I was a Communist for the F-B-I." By the way... the book is due to arrive in stores on Mayday 1992.


Joining the Sedentary Lifestyle.

Commentator Maureen Corrigan tells us about her latest concession to the sedentary lifestyle...the purchase of a La-Z-Boy recliner.


A Good, but Not Great Book.

Critic-at-Large Maureen Corrigan reviews Greil Marcus' new book, "Dead Elvis: A Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession." (Doubleday)


Comic Crankiness and Conservatism.

Critic Maureen Corrigan reviews "BAD, or the Dumbing of America," by Paul Fussell. In his book, Fussell decries the decline of quality and taste in everything from movies to education. (It's published by Summit Books).


David Rieff and the New "Self-Help."

Writer David Rieff (pronounced "reef"). he's the author of the new book, "Los Angeles: Capital of the Third World,"(published by Simon and Schuster). He'll talk to Marty about the recovery movement, the proliferation of such self-help books as "Healing the Child Within," and "Choice-Making for Co-dependents," and the popularity of such pop-psychology gurus as John Bradshaw.


Photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz. She's famous for her portraits of celebrities that capture the person behind the public image. She's photographed John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Ella Fitzgerald, Mick Jagger, Tennessee Williams and others. Her photographs have been featured in Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. A new book of her photographs has just been published: "Annie Leibovitz Photographs 1970-1990." (Harper/Collins).


MOMA Bridges an Artistic Divide

Maureen Corrigan comments on high art and pop culture in her review of the High and Low show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibit sharply divided audiences. Corrigan says she was perversely pleased with everything she saw -- including the inclusion of advertisements, graffiti, and comic books.


Richard Wurman on "Information Anxiety"

The architect and graphic designer's new book examines contemporary worries over keeping up with an ever-growing body of media. Wurman says one way to alleviate this anxiety is to increase information accessibility through better organization.

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