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American pop culture - Hollywood cinema, television, pop music - dominates the rest of the world through its hegemonic presence. Does that make everyone a hybridized American, or do these elements find mediation within the other cultures that consume them? Fabricating the Absolute Fake applies concepts of postmodern theory - Baudrillard’s hyperreality and Eco’s “absolute fake,” among others - to this globally mediated American pop culture in order to examine both the phenomenon itself and its appropriation in the Netherlands, as evidenced by such diverse cultural icons as the Elvis-inspired crooner Lee Towers, the Moroccan-Dutch rapper Ali B, Dutch Entrepreneur Shandar Kooij, musical tributes to an assassinated politician, and the Dutch reality soap opera scene. Fabricating the Absolute Fake is a fascinating exploration of how global cultures struggle to create their own “America” within a post-9/11 media culture.
“A brilliant, thoroughly enjoyable work of cultural critique, Fabricating the Absolute Fake takes seemingly exhausted concepts like ‘Americanization’ and turns them on their head. Refusing simple binaries between the fake and the authentic, or between cultural imperialism and native resistance, Kooijman demonstrates just how flexible the signifiers of Americanness can be when they circulate globally.” Anna McCarthy, Cinema Studies, New York University
“Most daring and persuasive is Kooijman’s ability to move between and connect the most delicious pop and the most searing political events (9/11, the murder of Pim Fortuyn), never evading the seriousness of entertainment nor the spectacle of politics. A book that is a pleasure for what it conveys of its subject and for its intellectual rigor, managing to be at once subtle and straightforward, complex and lucid.” Richard Dyer, Film Studies, King’s College London
“Fabricating the Absolute Fake shows that pop culture is more than emphemeral entertainment. When looked at with Kooijman’s cosmopolitan eye, pop culture can be seen as a continuing ritual in celebration of national identities, America’s identity for sure, but also, intriguinly, a Dutch or even European sense of self.” Rob Kroes, American Studies, University of Amsterdam