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Mark Dery Thinks Bad Thoughts in His Latest Collection of Essays

By Deborah Sussman
Phoenix New Times (blog)

Dery_Bad coverIn the introduction to his new book of essays, "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams" (University of Minnesota Press), Mark Dery lays out the foundation that shores up every one of these short, sharp, well-turned pieces: American Gothic, as epitomized by director David Lynch in the movie Blue Velvet.   "By the American Gothic," Dery writes, "I mean the stomach-plunging drop from reassuring myth to ugly truth -- the distance between our dreams of ourselves and the face staring back at us from the cultural mirror."

Basically, Dery wants to turn society over and shine some light on the dark, crawly things growing underneath it -- and us. And he wants to do this not only because he thinks it helps us understand ourselves, but because he believes in intellectual freedom, and "intellectual freedom is unimaginable without the right to think the unthinkable."

In the introduction to his new book of essays, "I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams" (University of Minnesota Press), Mark Dery lays out the foundation that shores up every one of these short, sharp, well-turned pieces: American Gothic, as epitomized by director David Lynch in the movie Blue Velvet.   "By the American Gothic," Dery writes, "I mean the stomach-plunging drop from reassuring myth to ugly truth -- the distance between our dreams of ourselves and the face staring back at us from the cultural mirror."

Basically, Dery wants to turn society over and shine some light on the dark, crawly things growing underneath it -- and us. And he wants to do this not only because he thinks it helps us understand ourselves, but because he believes in intellectual freedom, and "intellectual freedom is unimaginable without the right to think the unthinkable."

Read the full review here.