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Smells Like Teen Spirit

Iconic Irony

We often wonder how best to capture our moment, the temper of the time. In the classroom, we use a document, a novel, a photograph, a person, a film—some kind of iconic representation that can reduce immeasurably complex eras to something more manageable. We assign terms such as the “acids of modernity,” “the age of fracture,” “the era of broken dreams” to these iconic symbols in the hope that the combination will evoke further thought. Recently, I asked students taking my course on movies and American culture to tell me what movie, actor, genre, production trend, etc., best represented our Read more