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Gary Indiana is one of America's leading cultural critics--a public intellectual who has written key essays on every aspect of American culture. Utopia's Debris comprises selections of his very best work, revealing him to be an enormously acute, frequently scabrous, and always brilliant observer of the best and worst America has to offer. His writings range from popular culture--trash novels, architectural wonders and horrors--to appreciations of the best of modern literature, art, and cinema. They include his convincing (and highly entertaining) debunking of fashionable conspiracy theories, a spirited and contrarian defense of Bill Clinton's autobiography, a Mencken-like examination of the rise of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the politics of celebrity in what Indiana calls the Age of Contempt. A postmodern Emerson, Indiana wields scalpel-sharp wit and a fealty to logic on issues in which, all too often, irrationalism and emotionalism hold sway. At times rigorously serious, at other times whimsical, Indiana's most conspicuous feature is skepticism--his wildly satirical contempt for conventional wisdom.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780465002481
ISBN-10: 046500248X
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 156mm x 28mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 4-Dec-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Previously published essays by novelist, playwright and cultural critic Indiana (The Schwarzenegger Syndrome: Politics and Celebrity in the Age of Contempt, 2005, etc.)."In a dauntingly, often viciously anti-intellectual society, [Susan] Sontag made being an intellectual attractive," the author writes in a 2004 obituary to his late friend. Much the same could be said of Indiana, who seems to take perverse pleasure in sectioning the underbellies of the world's most sacred cows. None escape his scandalous, sobering, satirical pen in this new collection, which ranges from a biting lampoon of Arnold Schwarzenegger's gubernatorial win and a review of the film Brokeback Mountain to a critical homage to Louis-Ferdinand Celine. As the writer explains in the preface, "We live in the wreckage of a century I lived through the second half of, a century of false messiahs, twisted ideologies, shipwrecked hopes, pathetic answers." With this precursor, readers see the author critically sifting through that wreckage in an attempt to make sense of turn-of-the-century bedlam. Whether dissecting America's increasingly narcissistic consumer culture or surveying the landscape of post-9/11 sensibilities, Indiana injects much of his own personality into his work, often contradicting his seemingly nihilistic point of view with a subtle if intense concern for humanity and for his readers. Unlike Let It Bleed (1995), an early roundup, this collection is heavier on analysis, lighter on the first-person and more intense in its urgency. Indiana's thorough and balanced research coagulates into a convincing argument that the ills of the world are not natural occurrences like glaciation; there is accountability, and these people are responsible.A polychrome pastiche that soars with delicious insights. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Gary Indiana

Gary Indiana is the author of thirty-two books, including Do Everything in the Dark, Depraved Indifference, Rent Boy, Resentment, Let It Bleed, and Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World. He lives in New York City.

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