The American Dream enjoins limitless social mobility. Class barriers don’t exist for it, or if they do they are so fluid as to be virtually without meaning. “From each according to his abilities … ” could really stand as its motto, with the corollary that in America only the shiftless go unrewarded.
Subscribed to by nearly all Americans, the American Dream represents a constant threat to the realities of the American class structure. It must therefore be exorcised, and the job of exorcism is performed by the organs of mass media, particularly the movies. Almost every Hollywood production is an attempt to annihilate mobility as an ideal. In opposition to the dynamism of the American Dream, Hollywood preaches...
For just $19.95 a year, get access to new issues and decades' worth of archives on our site.
Print + Online
For $35 a year, get new issues delivered to your door and access to our full online archives.