04/29/2012 12:24 pm ET

Why Isn't The Recession's Pain Being Better Represented In Popular Culture?

We are now several years into what has been one of the deepest, most sustained, and catastrophic economic downturns in U.S. history. One notable feature of this downturn is how relatively infrequently our current hard times are finding representation in popular culture. Oh, there have been a smattering of pop culture creations that at least make an attempt to respond to the ongoing economic crisis. Some of the newer sitcoms, like HBO’s Girls and CBS’s 2 Broke Girls, nod toward their protagonists’ economic anxieties and downsized opportunities and expectations. The occasional mainstream Hollywood movie like Michael Clayton presents a bleak and depressing portrait of the depredations of corporate America. And as Katha Pollitt has noted, novelist Suzanne Collins’ riveting Hunger Games trilogy can be read as “a savage satire of late capitalism: in a dystopian future version of North America called Panem, the 1 percent rule through brute force, starvation, technological wizardry and constant surveillance.”

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