Tag Archives: TV

The Social and Cultural Construction of Abraham Lincoln in U.S. Movies and on U.S. TV

Abraham Lincoln has constantly moved among and stirred Americans in the common, shifting ground of their popular, visual, and digital imagination. Nowadays, Lincoln is larger than the sum of his parts. This is due partly to his own prismatic personality, partly to his political genius, partly to the special needs of the American nation and its people. If Lincoln did not exist, someone, somehow, would have tried to construct a representative figure who came close to the mark of what the Civil War, the fight for the Union, the failure of Secession, the liberty of the slaves and the material-spiritual expansion of America meant. But Lincoln existed. Lincoln hit the target. Here was witness, cause, martyr and lodestone all packed into one.

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“A Cuchi Moya!” — Star Trek’s Native Americans

For decades, Science Fiction had offered those involved in a cultural phenomenon stigmatized as escapist entertainment the opportunity to playfully work through their visions of the future, exploring both scenarios they might hope for and those they were deeply afraid of. Against this background, it is not surprising that particularly people marginalized by the current social order use fantastic fictions to either unmask present socio-cultural practices as oppressive or to imagine alternative ways of living where they would be no longer disenfranchised.

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