A HOUSE OF CARDS ~ Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture

A HOUSE OF CARDS  ~ Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture

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Book review and technical detail A HOUSE OF CARDS ~ Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture John Bloom

Technical detail of A HOUSE OF CARDS ~ Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture
Title
A HOUSE OF CARDS ~ Baseball Card Collecting and Popular Culture
author John Bloom
ISBN 107117
Language English
Category Entertainment & Sports
Publisher University of Minnesota Press
Pages 142
Publishing Date 1st January, 1970

Book Reviews:

 A abstraction of baseball-card accession in the high Midwest becomes ``an ethnographic annual of a bounded fan culture'' by cavity of Bloom's boring academese. Bloom (American Studies/Dickinson Coll.) latches assimilate the conceivably accessible apriorism that ``white average chic men were the primary constituency that comprised the amount of the baseball agenda accession hobby'' and never lets go. His abstraction covers the backward 1980s into the 1990s, afterwards the amusement had been thoroughly commercialized by home-shopping shows on cable television. A amusement with its origins in ``the homesickness for chastity amid in symbols of white common boyhood'' became a big business aback in the mid-1970s, back the cardinal of austere collectors grew from 4,000 to 250,000. The Fleer Corporation's acknowledged antitrust clothing adjoin Topps opened the aperture for added companies to aftermath cards. That, Bloom argues, set off the direct-marketing bang of the backward 1980s; baseball cards became the artefact rather than the allurement to buy a product, such as atom or gum or cupcakes. Bloom goes on to appraise the dynamics of sports memorabilia shows, award a chic anatomy amid the dealers and collectors in their baseball caps and beer-commercial T-shirts. Those he advised ``attempted to accomplish a mass-media anatomy allusive aural their accession subculture.'' Numbing statements abominably blemish out astute, acrid observations, such as Bloom's acquainted the acrimony appearance dealers accept with children: What was already a boy's amusement now has little backbone for baby enthusiasms. Not a beneficiary himself, Bloom refers to his interviewees by aboriginal names alone (``I aboriginal abstruse of Dave back I was interviewing Bob . . .''), appropriately giving their statements a confessional edge, like affidavit at an AA meeting. Bloom's casual cogent observations would be bigger served by absurdity and clarity.

Explores the connection between baseball card collecting and nostalgia among men of the baby boom."Collectors often decried how money had ruined their hobby, making it hard for them to form meaningful friendships through their cards. Money, however, made the hobby not only profitable but also more serious, more instrumental, and therefore more manly. The same collectors who complained about greed often bragged in the same interview about the value of their cards. Yet money, in turn, made the hobby less akin to child's play and more like work: lonely, competitive, unfulfilling, and alienating".Baseball card collecting carries with it images of idealized boyhoods in the sprawling American suburbs of the postwar era. Yet in the past twenty years, it has grown from a pastime for children to a big-money pursuit taken seriously by adults. In A House of Cards, John Bloom uses interviews with collectors, dealers, and hobbyists as well as analysis of the baseball card industry and extensive firsthand observations to ask what this hobby tells us about nostalgia, work, play, masculinity, and race and gender relations among collectors.Beginning in the late 1970s and into the early 1990s, baseball card collecting grew into a business that embodied traditional masculine values such as competition, savvy, and industry. In A House of Cards, Bloom interviews collectors who reveal ambivalence about the hobby's emphasis on these values, often focusing on its alienating, lonely, and unfulfilling aspects. They express nostalgia for the ideal childhood world many middle-class white males experienced in the postwar years, when they perceived baseball card collecting as a form of play, not amoneymaking enterprise.Bloom links this nostalgia to anxieties about deindustrialization and the rise of the civil rights, feminist, and gay rights movements. He examines the gendered nature of swap meets as well as the views of masculinity expressed by the collectors: Is the purpose of baseball card collecting to form a community of adults to reminisce or to inculcate young men with traditional masculine values? Is it to establish "connectedness" or to make money? Are collectors striving to reinforce the dominant culture or question it through their attempts to create their own meaning out of what are, in fact, mass-produced commercial artifacts?Bloom provides a fascinating exploration of male fan culture, ultimately providing insight into the ways white men of the baby boom view themselves, masculinity, and the culture at large.

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