CRIMINAL MADNESS: CULTURAL ICONOGRAPHY AND INSANITY by ProQuest

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[...] Part IV examines dramatic post-1970s changes in cinematic portrayals of criminals, the criminal justice system, and mad criminals, and explores ways in which the new iconography of criminal madness contributed to a dramatic shrinkage of the rights of mentally ill offenders. Popular culture, in contrast, is international in scope and, if not wholly systematic in its presentation, purports to present a coherent worldview.9 Because it implicitly purports to show the world "as it is"-indeed, the narrative conventions of dramatic fiction require a plausible construction of plot, character, and motive to enable the viewer to at least momentarily suspend her disbelief10-it likely has the greatest impact on the public's understanding of unfamiliar topics, ones which most people don't frequently encounter in their daily lives and about which they lack alternative information sources.\n Those efforts were manifested in broad reform and liberalization of the legal tests for insanity, and in a series of decisions by the Supreme Court to expand civil rights protections to the mentally ill, including mentally ill criminals.

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