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Backstage: The Death of Boom Culture? LIVE Shorts

April 14, 2009

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Now that markets have proven a flawed index of our economic well being, our cultural life needs to look beyond the pat certainties of laissez faire ideology. Among the ills afflicting the American novel at the height of boom culture, Walter Benn Michaels argues, was a curatorial obsession with past oppressions—from slavery to the Holocaust to memoir-style accounts of family abuse. Writers should now be asking less about what it meant to oppose the Holocaust, he contends, and more about what it means to support free trade.

David Simon, creator of The Wire, and Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon, join Michaels and novelist-critic Dale Peck to discuss the social vision of contemporary storytelling.