Double Trouble: Bill Clinton and Elvis Presley in the Land of No Alternatives, by Greil Marcus. Henry Holt and Company, 248 pages, $25.00.
Even now, it is an indelible image: Bill Clinton in sunglasses blowing "Heartbreak Hotel" through his saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1992. It was the meeting of politics and pop, Bubba and Elvis. Proof that rock 'n' roll can make a president--and, though less successfully, vice versa.
Diners, Bowling Alleys and Trailer Parks: Chasing the American Dream in the Postwar Consumer Culture, by Andrew Hurley. Basic Books, 409 pages, $27.50.
The lunch counter in my college town is called the Yankee Doodle, and its best moments come just after the 6:00 a.m. opening. Late-night partiers straggle in before bed, thesis writers on an all-night jag fuel up, and the blue-collar workers who clean the dormitories start their day with fried eggs, fried hamburgers, fried donuts, or home fries. For a few sunrise moments, class divisions drown in a sea of butter.
The American public may think that Clinton-era lawsuits reined in Big Tobacco. After all, settlements with the industry have resulted in $240 billion for state governments and a stream of ads about the hazards of cigarettes.
But the Marlboro Man and his compadres still ride roughshod over public-health policy around the world. In the past few months alone, the tobacco industry has made gains by airing child-friendly television commercials in Uruguay, reversing a ban on tobacco promotion in the United Arab Emirates only 10 days after its passage, and winning the appointment of a key ally to run the economy in Costa Rica.