culture has many theoreticians, but very few true explorers, and none
of them can match the delicious taste and delicate, thrill-seeking instincts
of Bernard Welt. With his graceful, roaming, bemused, brilliantly attenuated
prose style, and his wild, generous intelligence, anything he puts his
mind to becomes a thing of awe."
Dennis Cooper, author of Closer
Bernard Welt writes with a rare combination of biting humor and grave
urgency, as he addresses popular art in America during the past decade.
His seventeen essays range over a wide variety of personalities and entertainments,
including Michael Jackson, Star Trek, The Simpsons, Pee-wee
Herman, Steven Spielberg, Sesame Street, the Friday the 13th
films, television game shows, Aladdin, Dr. Seuss's books, and more.
Throughout, Welt analyzes violence on television; the complex role of
childhood in our national consciousness; and the ubiquitous presence of
homosexuality in American popular artfrom drag queens and gays in
the military to the straight porn industry. With an independent voice
free of cynicism, Welt maintains a healthy disdain for the criticisms
often leveled at popular art by academics and the high-art world, while
he provides an intellectual defense for the significance of popular art
to our understanding of who we are and what inventive cultural work can
do. Mythomania concludes with a reprint of the classic text "The
Dark Side of Disneyland" by the poet Donald Britton, in which the
author argues for Disneyland as a monumental work of art memorializing