Scullion, Adrienne: "Byrne and The Bogie Man. Experiencing American popular culture in Scotland." In: Atlantic Studies 1.2 (2004), S. 210–227.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Scullion2004
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Keywords: "Sheriff Lobey Dosser of Calton Creek", "The Bogie Man", Byrne. John Patrick, Comic strip, Crime comics, Grant. Alan, Interculturalism, Literature, Neill. Bud, Popular culture, Scotland, Smith. Robin, United Kingdom, USA, Wagner. John, Western
Collection: Atlantic Studies
This essay argues that American popular culture, economically so dominant and socially so prevalent, remains open to re-use and reversal when exposed to the unique and active discourses of the “target” culture. With reference to a range of texts and representations—including comic books, television and stage drama—this essay considers how modern Scottish culture has used images and motifs of American popular culture, transforming them wholly, and rendering them uniquely and identifiably “Scottish.” The essay focuses on the example of Scottish playwright and fine artist John Byrne, with key exemplification being drawn from his drama cycle The Slab Boys Trilogy—The Slab Boys (1978), Cuttin’ a Rug (1979) and Still Life (1982)—and two television series, Tutti Frutti (BBC, 1987) and Your Cheatin’ Heart (BBC, 1990). The essay discusses the impact and utilisation of American popular culture in Scottish popular culture in general—and on Byrne’s work in particular—in relation to two important sets of representation: the western; and, the gangster film and narratives of the hard-boiled detective. These are initially discussed in relation to two Scottish cartoon series: Bud Neill’s 1950’s cartoon strip Lobey Doser, and the 1980’s cartoon serial The Bogie Man. Referring to these two comic strips, as a segue to analysing the work of a dramatist and painter, underlines both the general mutability of popular culture and the specific impact of American popular culture in both the visual and linguistic culture of Scotland. From these examples, the essay concludes that popular culture will negotiate with the various cultural and artistic systems in its worldview. Therefore, within Scottish culture, such processes of hybridisation transform the raw material of, for example, the Hollywood movie into a distinctive and locally specific expression of popular culture.
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