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Trash (culture)

bad taste - The Cramps - exploitation - Euro-trash - grindhouse film theatres - junk - Mondo films - sleaze - trash fiction - John Waters

The Redneck Manifesto (1997) - Jim Goad
[FR] [DE] [UK]


  1. Empty words or ideas.
  2. Worthless or offensive literary or artistic material.
  3. Disparaging, often abusive speech about a person or group. -- The American Heritage Dictionary


  • The scattered remains of something broken or destroyed; rubble or wreckage.
  • Carelessly discarded refuse; litter. --American Heritage Dictionary

    White trash

    White trash (extended: poor white trash) is a racial epithet usually used to describe certain low income caucasians, especially those characterized by crude manners or abnormally low moral standards. According to Oxford English Dictionary, "white trash" first came into common use in the 1830s as an American pejorative used by the slaves of "gentlemen" (rich white Southerners, often plantation aristocrats) against poor Caucasians who worked in the field. The term involves both behavioral characteristics (such as mannerisms, lifestyle) and overt racial characteristics (whiteness). The term is probably used most frequently in the Southeast region of the United States. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_trash [Jun 2005]

    Poor whites are associated with kitschy chic or dangerous perversions in mainstream culture, rather than with the realities of life under conditions of economic hardship and social disempowerment. White Trash compares the stereotypes with the social reality, unmasking the racial and class assumptions behind the term. Issues range from religion to Elvis, Spam to trailer parks. 10 illustrations. --White Trash (1996) - Annalee Newitz ,ISBN 0415916925

    Trash talk

    artwork by Richard Bernstein My Loleatta "I havent seen a man as fine enough.. or good enough that I would waste my tears and cry over... I said BITCH !!!!!!" --lots of trash talk' and cool sexual innuendo

    Trash masterpiece

    A trash masterpiece is a work of literature or film which is viewed as particularly effective because of its inherent cheapness, and/or its characters and settings, often in a slum, ghetto, or other sleazy locale. The term is usually used to describe books or films which boast a strong cult following.

    Examples of well-known "trash masterpieces" include:

    • The Phantom of the Opera (1910)
    • Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
    • The Little Shop of Horrors (1960)
    • Valley of the Dolls (1966)
    • Night of the Living Dead (1968)
    • Pink Flamingos (1972)
    • The Evil Dead (1980)
    • Raising Arizona (1987)
    • American Psycho (1991)
    • Pulp Fiction (1994)
    --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trash_masterpiece [Jan 2006]

    See also: cult following - trash - master

    Trash cinema

    Whether they are a low-budget films that have found a life as auctioned and traded bootlegs, high-profile successes that have fallen into second-run obscurity, or something in between, Trash films have left their mark on a different type of film history and writing. However these films have come to be defined ("trash," "cult," "exploitation," etc.), there is no doubt that they have had an effect on us and have led us down some unusual paths. --Eric Schaefer, "Born to Be Bad: Trash Cinema from the 1960s and 70s" Conference and Film Festival, May 17 -19, 2002, University of California, Berkeley

    Trash (1970) - Paul Morrissey

    Trash (1970) - Paul Morrissey [Amazon.com]

    "Why do you have to be unconscious?" asks Holly (played by Holly Woodlawn) while fingering the unresponsive crotch of her passed-out junkie boyfriend, Joe (Joe Dallesandro). Joe passes through a series of flaccid sexual encounters until, on account of his drug habit, he hits rock bottom as Holly is forced out of frustration to consummate with one of his discarded beer bottles. A radical and infinitely more compassionate departure from producer Andy Warhol's art-as-commodity (or commodification) discourse, director Paul Morrissey set out to make a reactionary antidrug film (originally titled Drug Trash), but the film instead turned into a sweaty, cinema-verité black comedy about the pitfalls of, to use a popular catch phrase of the time, "dropping out" of society and, inevitably, losing all hope of human intimacy. In this case, dropping out is not so much an escape as it is a further complicity: rather than an exercise in free will, one form of mindless consumer addiction has simply exchanged with another. As a time capsule, societal criticism, and cult oddity all in one, grab this from the trash heap of film history on your way out of a burning building. --Christopher Chase for amazon.com

    Trash: The Graphic Genius of Xploitation Movie Posters (2002) - Jacques Boyreau

    Trash: The Graphic Genius of Xploitation Movie Posters (2002) - Jacques Boyreau [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    About the author: Jacques Boyreau co-founded the half-bar, half-underground cinema known as the Werepad. His archive, Cosmic Hex, contains hundreds of cult, horror, and sci-fi films, as well as thousands of movie posters. This is his first book. He lives in San Francisco.

    Trash proudly assembles more than 150 masterpieces of twisted brilliance: lowbrow graphic poster art from the sickest, sleaziest, sexiest, and weirdest films from the 1950s through the 1980s. A feast for the eyes and other visceral zones, Trash rolls in the mud with graphic art of such questionable aesthetic quality and social worth that it practically redefines the poster as advertising medium. Chapters each define a key Trash topic (Sex Trash, Action Trash, Sick Trash, Race Trash, Groovy Trash, Docu Trash), collecting the most zombified, oversexed, lethal pest-infested, and tasteless posters from each genre. With plagues of frogs, meteors headed straight for earth, sex-starved zombies, and explosion after glorious explosion, Trash gleefully crawls across the underbelly of both the cinematic and poster arts. --Book Description

    An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction (1990) - Thomas John Roberts

    An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction (1990) - Thomas John Roberts [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    [O]n the other hand, Thomas Roberts demonstrates in An Aesthetics of Junk Fiction (1990:173-174), a study of the historical background of the private detective model, how the detective story came into existence in the middle of the 19th century, at the time the institution of state police was developed. This force consisted mainly of lower class people, but nevertheless disposed of a certain authority over the upper class. The fears among the upper classes for this uncontrolled force were eased by domesticating the police in stories explicitly devoted to them. Their inability to pass on correct judgment was amply demonstrated, and forced them to bow for the individual intellect of the detective, who always belonged to the threatened upper class. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_culture_studies#The_possibility_of_a_.22subversive.22_popular_culture [Nov 2004]

    From Book News, Inc.
    Roberts (English, U. of Connecticut) approaches popular fiction as an international and legitimate form, rather than as failed literature, and profiles learned readers who choose westerns, romances, and fantasy over the accepted Great Works. He concludes that the popular genres evolve and treat issues in ways that serious literature cannot.

    Trash Culture: Popular Culture and the Great Tradition - Richard Keller Simon

    Trash Culture: Popular Culture and the Great Tradition - Richard Keller Simon [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Simon (English and humanities, California Polytechnic State Univ.) here maintains that great literature and popular entertainment evoke "comparable experiences." Painstakingly detailing the structures and ideas shared by popular culture and great literature, he compares modern supermarket tabloid and gossip magazine tragedies to the great tragic literature; TV talk shows, sitcoms, and soap operas to the history of the theater; and Star Wars, Star Trek, and Vietnam War movies to The Faerie Queen, Gulliver's Travels, and Homer. Likewise, advertising, shopping malls, and Playboy, he suggests, fulfill historic needs in modern context. A controversial and optimistic view of both literature and popular works, Simon's argument is carefully thought out and surprisingly convincing. Recommended for literature and communication collections. Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc, amazon.com

    See also: popular culture - tradition

    Trash Aesthetics: Popular Culture and Its Audience (1997) - Deborah Cartmell, I. Q. Hunter, Heidi Kaye, Imelda Whelehan

    Trash Aesthetics: Popular Culture and Its Audience (1997) - Deborah Cartmell, I. Q. Hunter, Heidi Kaye, Imelda Whelehan [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Patterns of production and consumption are one of the foundation stones of media studies in the 1990s. Taking the audience as its starting point, this collection of essays focuses on aspects of audience response, interaction and manipulation in a diverse range of films, from "high culture" literary adaptations ("The Scarlet Letter", "Pride and Prejudice" and "Schindler's List") to comic book adaptations ("Tank Girl", "Judge Dredd") and genre horror movies such as "The Shining" and "Nightmare on Elm St.". A concluding essay explores the differences and the similarities between adaptations of "high" and "low" cultural forms in a mass film media. --via Amazon.co.uk

    In "Double Exposures: Observations on The Flesh and Blood Show", Steve Chibnall traces the recuperation of trash cinema in the United States and the phenomenon of the cultish appropriation of "disreputable" films over the last three decades. His reference to cineastes (academic film culture) and cinephiles (extramural fan culture) centers around the present interest in exploitation movies. Both fans and critics should work together in the analysis of exploitation movies by taking into account not just the textual features but also the different discourses mobilized in the constitution and understanding of exploitation cinema. --Trash Aesthetics: Popular Culture and its Audience, 1997 via http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/film/journal/bookrev/trash_aesthetics.htm [Aug 2006]

    The Trash Phenomenon: Contemporary Literature, Popular Culture, and the Making of the American Century (2003) - Stacey Michele Olster

    The Trash Phenomenon: Contemporary Literature, Popular Culture, and the Making of the American Century (2003) - Stacey Michele Olster [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Book Description
    The Trash Phenomenon looks at how writers of the late twentieth century not only have integrated the events, artifacts, and theories of popular culture into their works but also have used those works as windows into popular culture's role in the process of nation building. Taking her cue from Donald Barthelme's 1967 portrayal of popular culture as "trash" and Don DeLillo's 1997 description of it as a subversive "people's history," Stacey Olster explores how literature recycles American popular culture so as to change the nationalistic imperative behind its inception.

    The Trash Phenomenon begins with a look at the mass media's role in the United States' emergence as the twentieth century's dominant power. Olster discusses the works of three authors who collectively span the century bounded by the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Persian Gulf War (1991): Gore Vidal's American Chronicle series, John Updike's Rabbit tetralogy, and Larry Beinhart's American Hero. Olster then turns her attention to three non-American writers whose works explore the imperial sway of American popular culture on their nation's value systems: hierarchical class structure in Dennis Potter's England, Peronism in Manuel Puig's Argentina, and Nihonjinron consensus in Haruki Murakami's Japan.

    Finally, Olster returns to American literature to look at the contemporary media spectacle and the representative figure as potential sources of national consolidation after November 1963. Olster first focuses on autobiographical, historical, and fictional accounts of three spectacles in which the formulae of popular culture are shown to bypass differences of class, gender, and race: the John F. Kennedy assassination, the Scarsdale Diet Doctor murder, and the O. J. Simpson trial. She concludes with some thoughts about the nature of American consolidation after 9/11. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

    From the Publisher
    Trash and recycling as metaphors for popular culture's role in nation building. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

    See also: trash - popular culture

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