Hearts and Mines
The US Empire’s Culture Industry
From Katy Perry training alongside US Marines in a music video, to the global box-office mastery of the US military-supported Transformers franchise, to the explosion of war games such as Call of Duty, it’s clear that the US security state is a dominant force in media culture. But is the ubiquity of cultural products that glorify the security state a new phenomenon? Or have Uncle Sam and Hollywood been friends for a long time? Hearts and Mines examines the rise and reach of the US Empire’s culture industry – a nexus between the US’s security state and media firms and the source of cultural products that promote American strategic interests around the world. Although the US government and media corporations pursue different interests on the world stage (the former, national security, and the latter, profit), this book documents how structural alliances and the synergistic relationships between them support the production and flow of empire-extolling cultural goods. Building on and extending Herbert I. Schiller’s classic study of US Empire and communications, Tanner Mirrlees highlights the symbiotic geopolitical and economic relationships between the US state and media firms that drive the production of imperial culture.
This timely and engaging interdisciplinary book will be invaluable to students and scholars of communications, media, and cultural studies, as well as to anyone interested in sociology, political-economy, geography, international relations, US foreign policy, propaganda, and the radical imagination.
Tanner Mirrlees’ most exquisite book on the US culture industry starts with a rhetorical question: Is ‘the relationship between the US government and the culture industry one of conflict or symbiosis?’ (p. xiii). Mirrlees answers this with ‘symbiosis’… While Mirrlees’ book is most insightful and illuminating it is also devastatingly pessimistic, perhaps even dystopian.
A great achievement and timely contribution to the field, Hearts and Mines will rise to the top of all reading lists on the subject of media and empire, US hegemony, and the political economy of communication.
A fascinating, provocative book that invigorates our understanding of the relationship between the culture industries and US empire. Mirrlees detonates prevailing myths about the “liberal bias” of popular culture through a meticulous excavation of how imperial political interests, values, and objectives are woven into the production of news, cinema, and digital gaming. Hearts and Mines will change how you think about the politics of culture.
Preface: The Personal is Geopolitical
Introduction: The US Empire’s Culture Industry, circa 2012
1 The US Empire and the Culture Industry
2 Public Diplomacy and Selling the American Way to the World
3 The US Culture Industry: Still Number One
4 The DOD–News Media Complex
5 The DOD–Hollywood Complex
6 The DOD–Digital Games Complex
Conclusion: US Empire, Cultural Imperialism, and Cultural Policy, at Large
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