Popular Culture 20 streets on Halloween and New Year's Eve , but not Thanksgiving or Christmas ? Why do people celebrate on some occasions and not others , and why do those celebrations take the shapes they do ?
Author: Jack Santino
Publisher: Univ. of Tennessee Press
Category: Crafts & Hobbies
Jack Santino's analysis encompasses everything from movies to romance novels, from television shows to comic books. One especially fascinating feature of this study is its examination of the packaged-foods industry and the manner in which soft drinks, beer, snack cakes, cookies, candy, and breakfast cereals are regularly repackaged to reflect particular holidays. In what becomes a central theme of the book, Santino shows how holidays give companies the opportunity to create an illusion of novelty for products that otherwise remain unchanged over time. For example, the holiday Chips Ahoy cookies or Halloween Oreos differ only in their appearance from the everyday products, but they assume a quality of uniqueness through their association with a special time of the year. Throughout the book, Santino examines the logic by which commercial culture and holidays are linked. Halloween, for instance, with its traditional symbolism of death, evil, and monsters, has served as a theme for heavy metal music and slasher films. This, in turn, has led to some interesting transmutations as one text borrows from another in the wake of a commercial success. When John Carpenter's pioneering 1978 slasher film Halloween became a box-office hit, it was perhaps inevitable that other holiday-based slasher films - New Year's Evil, April Fool's Day, and Silent Night, Deadly Night - would follow. Copiously illustrated, New Old-Fashioned Ways is at once entertaining and informative - a treat for general readers as well as an important work for scholars in a variety of fields, including communications, folklore, anthropology, sociology, and business.