Book Review: 'Outrageous: A History of Showbiz and the Culture Wars' argues history repeats itself


“There is nothing new under the sun.”

ByKRYSTA FAURIA Associated Press

November 27, 2023, 12:10 PM

This cover image released by Abrams Books shows "Outrageous: A History of Showbiz and the Culture Wars" by Kliph Nesteroff. (Abrams Books via AP)

This cover image released by Abrams Books shows “Outrageous: A History of Showbiz and the Culture Wars” by Kliph Nesteroff. (Abrams Books via AP)

The Associated Press

“There is nothing new under the sun.” So goes the adage which conveys the tendency for history to repeat itself.

It’s this unstated premise that drives Kliph Nesteroff’s latest book, “Outrageous: A History of Showbiz and the Culture Wars.” In it, Nesteroff artfully seeks to demonstrate how current catchphrases like “cancel culture” and “political correctness” are just variations of the same generational and ideological divides which have undergirded American society throughout Hollywood’s history.

Nesteroff turns his attention to comedians in particular, citing the ways in which they have historically been unique targets of the culture wars.

His arguments are cogent and his histories entertaining – how is it possible that “vaguely defined spirit of the times” is not a quote about wokeness, but instead a denunciation of critiques levied on comedians more than half a century ago?

Still, it’s worth noting that Nesteroff began his career as a comedian, which perhaps betrays an inherent sympathy for the prophetic martyrs who have frequently been subjected to unjust censorship and criticism throughout the history of showbiz.

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AP book reviews: https://apnews.com/hub/book-reviews



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