andreas broeckmann on Wed, 27 Jan 1999 12:17:47 +0200

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Syndicate: M. Dery: The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium

Mark Dery writes:

Did I already send you one of these?  If so, please disregard.

I thought you might be interested in the imminent publication of my essay
due out February 15, from Grove Press.  It's already listed on online services
such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders.

Here's the standard promotional blurb:

"The Unabomber isn't the only one who believes that "the world has gone
crazy."  To many, contemporary America seems like an infernal carnival, equal
parts funhouse and madhouse---a 'pyrotechnic insanitarium,' to borrow a turn-
of-the-century nickname for Coney Island.  In _The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium:
American Culture on the Brink_ (Grove Press, February 15, 1999), I wonder: Are
social forces such as the yawning chasm between rich and poor tearing the
fabric of American society to shreds?  Or are our premonitions of cultural
chaos just a toxic cocktail of millennial fever and media-fueled hysteria?  I
find the answers in Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh's visions of black
helicopters and the Heaven's Gate cultists' fantasies of alien saviors; in
Disney's planned town, Celebration, and Nike's dreams of global domination.
Along the way, I puzzle over the popularity of blow-up dolls of Edvard Munch's
_The Scream_ and wonder what, exactly, Jim Carrey's talking butt is trying to
tell us.  Alternately scary and hilarious, -_The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium_ is
a theme-park 'dark ride' through contemporary America, a culture torn between
angels and aliens, the smiley face and _The Scream_.  Keep your hands inside
the moving vehicle at all times."

If you ever read THE PYROTECHNIC INSANITARIUM, don't hesitate to rage, rave,
blast, or bombardier to:,


M. Dery