Teenage Wasteland

What synchronicity....One day after that emo item, and totally by chance, I come across the great short film of teenage alienation The Snob (1958).

It's one of the Centron "mental hugiene" films. You can download it here.

One commentator points out that The Snob was directed by the creator of one of the classic low-budget films:

It not only was directed by Herk Harvey, the director of the horror classic "Carnival of Souls," but it also stars the amazingly affecting Vera Stough, the Meryl Streep of Lawrence, KS. Stough (who later went on to act professionally, in Hollywood and elsewhere) stars as Sarah, an academically successful student at her high school who remains quietly contemptuous of her fellow students for not taking life as seriously as she does; the other students scorn her snobbery, while her parents are quietly puzzled by it and attempt gently to get Sarah to change her ways and reach out a bit to her peers. The film has a typical Centron open ending, with Sarah bursting into tears before her schoolmates at a party next door and rushing into the yard when they cannot understand her alienation. This is one of the very few mental hygiene films that is genuinely moving....

All the more so because some of us will identify with Sarah and think it's the pressure to adapt that is her real problem. As another viewer puts it:

Excellent example of a confused society, clearly showing how it attacks and tries to destroy what it doesn't understand. Film depicts brutal attacks on a young intellectual woman who has been singled out as a nonconformist. Even her own parents conspire against her. She suffers the typical abuses from those who cannot understand her constructive attitude and superior IQ. They, on the other hand, can be seen undertaking activities that serve no productive purpose. They go on to demonstrate an obvious inability to do something as simple as select a sandwich. Does the young woman go on to greatly benefit the ignorant masses, perhaps with major breakthroughs in a scientific endevour? Or does the constant persecution and emotional pummeling drive her to a life of despair, making her goal become diabolical revenge as a major corporate embezzeler who opts for a life of crime and apathy? As this film asks, what do you think?

I'm voting that she goes Beat. Anyway, it's a great little movie. Sarah would be about 65 now and chances are she turned out okay. As for the fates of Biff and Skippy, or whatever their names are, who cares?

April 10, 2007 6:00 PM | | Comments (0)


Leave a comment

Recent Work

Fidel Castro: My Life 
A review from Newsday
40 Years of "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual" 
Marking the anniversary of Harold Cruse's great book
Style and Grace 
A review of a book by the late, great Grace Paley from ... sheesh, almost ten years ago.
Oh, Canada 
National identity -- going south?
The LaRouche Tabernacle Choir 
An interview with me about the LaRouche movement, on Pacifica radio in Los Angeles
Open Library 
An interview with Aaron Swartz, one of the developers....
Sailing From Ithaka 
The new report calling for a digital platform for scholarly publishing deserves a wide audience


Battle of the Titans 
Dinesh D'Souza and Alan Wolfe debating? Imagine a slime mold in conflict with a patch of mildew. It's just that inspiring.
To the Tehran Station 
Not about Edmund Wilson
more picks


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on April 10, 2007 6:00 PM.

"It's Short for Emo-tional" was the previous entry in this blog.

Who's the Mack? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads

AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.