Citizen Spy: Television, Espionage, And Cold War Culture
U of Minnesota Press, 2005 - 236 pages
In Citizen Spy, Michael Kackman investigates how media depictions of the slick, smart, and resolute spy have been embedded in the American imagination. Looking at secret agents on television and the relationships among networks, producers, government bureaus, and the viewing public in the 1950s and 1960s, Kackman explores how Americans see themselves in times of political and cultural crisis. During the first decade of the Cold War, Hollywood developed such shows as I Led 3 Lives and Behind Closed Doors with the approval of federal intelligence agencies, even basing episodes on actual case files. These “documentary melodramas” were, Kackman argues, vehicles for the fledgling television industry to proclaim its loyalty to the government, and they came stocked with appeals to patriotism and anti-Communist vigilance.
As the rigid cultural logic of the Red Scare began to collapse, spy shows became more playful, self-referential, and even critical of the ideals professed in their own scripts. From parodies such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Get Smart to the more complicated global and political situations of I Spy and Mission: Impossible, Kackman situates espionage television within the tumultuous culture of the civil rights and women’s movements and the war in Vietnam. Yet, even as spy shows introduced African-American and female characters, they continued to reinforce racial and sexual stereotypes.
Bringing these concerns to the political and cultural landscape of the twenty-first century, Kackman asserts that the roles of race and gender in national identity have become acutely contentious. Increasingly exclusive definitions of legitimate citizenship, heroism, and dissent have been evident through popular accounts of the Iraq war. Moving beyond a snapshot of television history, Citizen Spy provides a contemporary lens to analyze the nature—and implications—of American nationalism in practice.
Michael Kackman is assistant professor in Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas, Austin.
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2 I Led 3 Lives and the Agent of History
3 The Irrelevant Expert and the Incredible Shrinking Spy
4 Parody and the Limits of Agency
African Americans and the CitizenSubject
Mission Impossible and the International Other
Spies Are Back
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Ackerman Papers African American agency American national audiences Batman Bruce Geller called character CIA’s citizen citizenship civic civil rights movement Closed Doors Cold Cold War Communism Communist conflict critics critique discourses domestic drama episode espionage espionage programs Farago federal fictional films Folder gender Girl from U.N.C.L.E. global Harry Ackerman Herb Herbert Philbrick historical ideal ideological ILed3 Illya Impossible increasingly Led 3 Lives Led3 masculine Mel’s Mission narrative national identity NBC Collection norms official parody patriotism Philbrick political popular culture producers protagonist racial Ralph Cohn realism Red Scare representations Robert Vaughn Scotty Screen Gems script semidocumentary sexual show’s SHSW Smart social Solo Soviet spies Sports Illustrated spy programs spy shows Spy’s story studio subversion syndication television industry television program tensions tion Treasury United University Press Vaughn Vietnam viewers World of Giants York Zacharias
Page xxii - From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.
Page 210 - At a time when we face grave situations abroad because of the hatred that Communism bears toward a system of government based on human rights, it would be difficult to exaggerate the harm that is being done to the prestige and influence, and indeed to the safety, of our nation and the world.
Page 77 - Pastiche is, like parody, the imitation of a peculiar or unique style, the wearing of a stylistic mask, speech in a dead language: but it is a neutral practice of such mimicry, without parody's ulterior motive, without the satirical impulse, without laughter, without that still latent feeling that there exists something normal compared to which what is being imitated is rather comic.
Page 190 - Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987); and WJT Mitchell, ed., On Narrative (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980).
Page 210 - Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation.
Page 21 - Nothing will ruin the country, if the people themselves will undertake its safety; and nothing can save it, if they leave that safety in any hands but their own.
Page 210 - ... over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation. We are portrayed as a violator of those standards of conduct which the peoples of the world united to proclaim in the Charter of the United Nations. There they affirmed "faith in fundamental human rights" and "in the dignity and worth of the human person" and they did so "without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.
Page 210 - Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993...