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  • Introduction: Keyword: Hokum

    Rob King

    Chapter from the book: King, R. 2017. Hokum!: The Early Sound Slapstick Short and Depression-Era Mass Culture.


    Challenging previous accounts of sound’s impact on the American slapstick tradition, the introduction proposes to explore film slapstick’s sound-era development from the perspective of a history of taste. It explores the etymology of “hokum” as a term of critical denigration increasingly applied to slapstick from the mid-1920s on; and it suggests how an attention to short subjects, rather than features, permits a more responsive understanding of slapstick’s changing position within the broader “field” (Bourdieu) of film comedy production. Methodologically, the introduction situates the project as a study of how once-dominant cultural forms become “residual,” in the sense suggested by Raymond Williams; and it posits residuality as a byproduct of the culture industries’ shifting configurations of their publics.

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    King, R. 2017. Introduction: Keyword: Hokum. In: King, R, Hokum!. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.28.a

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    Published on April 7, 2017