ScreenAge: How TV Shaped Our Reality from Tammy Faye to RuPaul’s Drag Race

Ebury. Mar. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9781529148466. $39.95. POP CULTURE
Award-winning director/producer/writer Bailey’s combination memoir and social commentary examines how TV and other small screens have impacted, expanded, and changed the way people see the world and queer culture. In the introduction, Graham Norton calls Bailey “the Forrest Gump of popular and tabloid culture. If it created headlines, he was there.” Bailey describes how the TV landscape changed, beginning with the birth of MTV, the Home Shopping Network, infomercials, and the commercialization of true crime (the coverage of Rodney King, the Los Angeles riots, murder trials featuring the Menendez brothers and O.J. Simpson). “Reality TV, that most maligned of all genres in that most maligned of all mediums, has done to television what rap did to rock and roll—taken it over and reinvented it,” writes Bailey. The author became part of that scene when he and partner Randy Barbato created the film and TV company World of Wonder in 1991 and RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009. Bailey offers loving tributes to pop and queer culture icons, including Andy Warhol, RuPaul, and Tammy Faye Baker.

CORRECTION: The book’s publication date has been updated.

VERDICT This is an eye-opening exploration and essential reading for readers interested in pop or queer culture.
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