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      Irony and Outrage

      Oxford University Press

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          This book explores the aesthetics, underlying logics, and histories of two seemingly distinct genres—liberal political satire and conservative opinion talk—making the case that they should be thought of as the logical extensions of the psychology of the left and right, respectively. One genre is guided by ambiguity, play, deliberation, and openness, while the other is guided by certainty, vigilance, instinct, and boundaries. While the audiences for Sean Hannity and John Oliver come from opposing political ideologies, both are high in political interest, knowledge, and engagement, and both lack faith in some of the United States’ core democratic institutions. This book illustrates how the roles these two genres play for their viewers are strikingly similar: galvanizing the opinion of the left or the right, mobilizing citizens around certain causes, and expressing a frustration with traditional news coverage while offering alternative sources of information and meaning. However, the book proposes that these genres differ in a crucial way: in their capacity to be exploited by special interests and political elites. The book concludes that due to the symbiotic relationship between conservative outrage and the psychological and physiological characteristics of the right, conservative outrage is uniquely positioned as a mechanism for successful elite propaganda and mobilization—in a way that liberal satire is not.

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          December 02 2019
          October 24 2019


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