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Ben Beard "The Bad Class" with Justin Roberts

Ben Beard will be in store celebrating his new book The Bad Class with conversation partner Justin Roberts!

About the Book:

In 1980, the U.S. elected an actor to the White House; Hollywood icon Ronald Reagan landed the world's leading role. While most of America celebrated, a white-hot rage simmered just out of sight.

In 1982, a B-movie named Class of 1984 appeared in theaters. A vicious reworking of Blackboard Jungle, here was a film for the new America: a punishing wasteland of burnouts and punks, of rampaging youth and swift violence, where greed was rewarded and virtue disdained.

Next came Bad Boys, The Outsiders, and Repo Man. As each attempted to diagnose this endemic of disaffected, angry young men, the subtext was clear: America had failed its youth. Children were paying the price for every adult sin.

Ben Beard, author of The South Never Plays Itself, grew up on these films. He returns to them now, revealing common threads and hidden patterns. With insight, empathy, and humor, Beard analyzes how these disparate works have come together to form a lattice, a warning, a clarion call, and a potential salve for the still-tender wounds of youth.

Equal parts memoir, cultural history, and cinematic excavation, as well as a pop-culture odyssey into early 1980s Americana-a land of guns, gangs, drugs, and the occult- The Bad Class attempts to understand the present by returning to the past, by probing this raw sliver of cinephilia, when a different plague was raging, the culture was sick, and the best films were trash.

About the Author:

Ben Beard is a writer and public school librarian, and the author of The South Never Plays Itself, a history of Hollywood and the South, and co-author of This Day in Civil Rights History, among other books. He is currently working on a dual biography of a serial killer and a prominent evangelical figure, as well as a biography of filmmaker Joseph H. Lewis. He grew up in Pensacola and Atlanta, but now lives in Chicago with his wife and three children. 

About the Conversation Partner:

Justin Roberts, four-time Grammy nominee, has been called “the Judy Blume of Kiddie Rock” by The New York Times, and USA Today says he’s “Hands down the best songwriter in the genre.” He has also been praised for his deft and heartfelt lyrics by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, People Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. He is also the author of The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, illustrated by Christian Robinson. Justin lives near Chicago with his family.

Event Start Time: 
Tuesday, January 09, 2024 - 7:00pm
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