Hollywood, Lay Off the 'Burbs

Hating on the suburbs is the cheapest, easiest move in art
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2008 2:00 PM CST

(Newser) Revolutionary Road, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, “is the latest entry in a long stream of art that portrays the American suburbs as the physical correlative to spiritual and mental death,” Lee Siegel writes in the Washington Post. Everyone from Allen Ginsberg to Sylvia Plath has given the ‘burbs a bad rap, painting a picture of “materialism, lack of imagination, and conformity.”

As the postwar middle class fled cities, drawn by lower home costs and better services, urban intellectuals started an anti-suburb movement that still lives—nowhere more so than in Tinseltown, as is evident from The Stepford Wives to Weeds. In reality, the suburbs are as fantastic and flawed as anywhere else, but, “then, Hollywood is the most illusion-soaked, soul-hardened, and materialistic suburb in the world.”