If You've Seen One, You've Seen the Mall: Europeans and American Mass Culture

Rob Kroes, Author University of Illinois Press $37 (195p) ISBN 978-0-252-02200-5
""Americans often seem to need a foreigner's perspective for a balanced view of what goes on in their own country,"" states Kroes. And while that assertion may be true, the way he follows it up is narrow-minded and arrogant. In his Eurocentric eyes, American culture is a Big Mac with the works-a revolting amalgamation that tastes great to some palates. Kroes's thesis that American culture is constantly disassembling and reassembling components to create new configurations suffers from a chronically narrow historical perspective. In the chapter entitled ""High and Low: The Quest for Cultural Standards in America,"" Kroes focuses on only one issue, immigration, as debated in one cultural journal from 1916. Meanwhile, in the chapter on the commodification of civic virtue, significant cultural forces predating the 1920s are ignored. The list goes on. Kores's impassioned intellectual riffing leaves little room for much-needed opposing theories, or for footnotes to support his arguments. European scholars have wrestled with America's cultural fragmentation for a long time; sadly, Kroes adds little to the discussion.(June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996
Release date: 06/01/1996
Paperback - 216 pages - 978-0-252-06532-3
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