Oil and Water Do Not Mix: Constitutional Law and American Popular Culture
25 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2010
Date Written: March 25, 2010
Why have most fictional films and television series purportedly involving constitutional issues been commercial and artistic failures? Focusing in order on “First Monday in October” (1981); “The Pelican Brief” (1993); and “The Court” and “First Monday,” two short-lived American television series from 2002, this article suggests the works fail not because of a lack of creativity but rather because of the way they were produced. In particular, the article argues the culture industry’s use of stock characters, devotion to familiar conventions, and reliance on established genres virtually preclude anything resembling meaningful constitutional deliberation and discussion. These aspects of pop cultural production are industrial imperatives, but stock characters, familiar conventions, and established genres limit the intellectual range and depth of films and television series. These limitations are especially pronounced when consideration of the Constitution is a possibility.
Keywords: films, television, constitutional, culture, pop culture
JEL Classification: K1, K19, K39, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation