Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement

New Press (1995)
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Abstract

Smoke and Mirrors is a passionate, richly nuanced work that shows television as a circus, a wishing well, and a cure for loneliness. Ranging from Ed Sullivan to cyberspace, from kid shows to cable, and from the cheap thrills of "action adventure" to the solemn boredom of PBS pledge week, Leonard argues for a whole new way of thinking about television. For Leonard, the situation comedy is a socializing agency, the talk show is a legitimating agency, the made-for-television movie is the last redoubt of social conscience, and television criticism itself is the last refuge of time-serving thugs and postmodernists. Instead of scapegoating television as the cause of crime in our streets, stupidity in our schools, and spectacle rather than substance in our government, Leonard sees something else inside the box: an echo chamber and a feedback loop, a medium neither wholly innocent of nor entirely responsible for the frantic disorder it brings into our homes.

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