Movies and the Culture WarsCharles Lyons
After the Supreme Court's rejection of legal movie censorship in the 1950's and the demise of the Hays Production Code in the 1960's, various public groups have emerged as media watch dogs, replacing nearly all other sources of control. Responding to explicit violence against women, negative stereotypes of gay and lesbian images, "racist" representations, and "blasphemous" interpretations of the Bible, groups from both Left and Right have staged protests in front of theaters and boycotted movie studios. The New Censors shows how groups on the Left empowered by social movements in the 1960's, and groups on the Right propelled by the successes of the New Christian Right and "The Moral Majority," have used similar strategies in attempting to control movie content.
The New Censors, the first study of the complex ways movies have been shaped in the years since the demise of the Code, covers a wide range of movies, protests, and government actions. From feminists against "Dressed to Kill," to religious campaigns against "The Last Temptation of Christ," to homosexuals' ire over "Basic Instinct," Lyons links a study of public outrage against movies to the broader culture wars over "family values," pornography, and various lifestyle issues.
This book provides a contemporary history of controversial movies and a timely discussion of how cultural politics continues to affect the movie industry.
"A timely, accessible and sophisticated study that illuminates how screen images and pressure groups interact." Annette Insdorf, Columbia University