Dangerous Men, Dangerous Media: Constructing Ethnicity, Race by Laura Cook Kenna

By Laura Cook Kenna

This dissertation historicizes gangster pictures and their reception, analyzing a large
range of media together with The Untouchablestelevision sequence; Frank Sinatra’s level
persona; The Godfather and its Blaxploitation cousin, The Black Godfather; gangster rap;
and The Sopranos. in addition to media content material, I study protests opposed to the gangster
(waged via Italian- and African-American teams and through media watchdogs) in addition to
popular and scholarly efforts to interpret the gangster’s which means. additional, I research the
popular figuring out of the media during which the gangster seemed (e.g., anxieties over
television’s behavioral results or estimations of rap’s “realness”).
My examine makes major arguments approximately media and identification and medium and
meaning. I argue that gangster photos operated as siteand stake within the cultural
construction of the Italian- or African-American identities they represented. instead of
survey gangster photos for accepted deviation or ideological consistency, I learn how
they incited struggles over the that means of ethnic or racial distinction in the US. My paintings
relies on archival study in fraternal organizationrecords, Italian- and African-American
media retailers, renowned press, and Congressional hearings to chart how the stream of
gangster photographs provoked discussions approximately and (re)articulations of nationwide id,
masculinity, otherness, and the influence of media upon society. moment, I argue that the
popular buildings of other mediums deeply affected the translation of gangster
images at the same time these buildings have been formed via different meanings attributed to “the
gangster.” As a perennially well known picture of masculinist, violent, capitalist enhance that
also mapped that ethos onto ethnically or racially special males, the gangster photo served
as fodder and discussion board for revisiting fears of media’s effect starting from stereotyping to the
emulation of legal habit. Gangster photographs, notwithstanding, even have been greatly
acclaimed as “authentic” expressions of culturally exact identities—from Seventies ethnic
auteurs to Nineties rappers. those competing structures of media types knowledgeable the
interpretation of gangster pictures and motivated the results of boycotts, executive
hearings, and different techniques for (en)countering the gangster. therefore, my two-fold argument means that Americans’ understandings of media and of ethnic and racial distinction have co-informed each other within the post-WWII interval.

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Additional info for Dangerous Men, Dangerous Media: Constructing Ethnicity, Race and Media's Impact through the Gangster Image, 1959-2007

Example text

Hence, he never faced the actual Untouchables squad as their primary 9Richard 10 F. Shepard, "Revlon Will Pay for 20 TV Shows," The New York Times, April 29 1959. The Los Angeles Times reported ABC’s acquisition of the show in a column that appeared only nine days after the second installment of “The Untouchables” was broadcast, April 27, 1959. Cecil Smith, "The TV Scene: Shaky Hands to Focus on Emmy," Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File), May 6 1959, p. A14. See also Cecil Smith, "Shows Go in for Gangster Sagas," Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File), Jul 9 1959, p.

36 Larry Wolters, "TV Ticker," Chicago Daily Tribune, November 18 1961, p. B4. reported on the ratings dip against Miller. The new, Tuesday night competition was outlined in Turner, "Producers Must Exude Confidence," p. C24. The series cancellation was reported in Lawrence Laurent, "Networks Mopping up Flops Following Disastrous Season," The Washington Post, Times Herald, June 8 1963, p. D25. Though Sing Along With Mitch Miller was clearly pitched as a family show, it was moved to the 10-11pm timeslot for the 1961-1962 season.

TV writer Cecil Smith and TV Guide speculated it was simply a ploy by NBC to cut into The Untouchables ratings however they could. Cecil Smith, "Exercised Fans Flex Their Pens," Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File), Apr 19 1961, p. A16. ," Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File), September 28 1961, p. A14. and "Bank Along with Mitch," TV Guide, September 30 1961, p. 20. 41 shows—was ousted from his presidency. 38 And, as this chapter will detail, the series had also been subject to government investigations and viewer protests almost since its inception.

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