Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Cultureby Timothy M. Dale
Pub. Date: 02/04/2010
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
The Simpsons consistently questions what is culturally acceptable, going against the grain of popular culture by showcasing controversial issues like homosexuality, animal rights, the war on terror, and religion. This subtle form of political analysis is entertaining and great for television ratings, but it also can be an effective means of changing opinions and… See more details below
The Simpsons consistently questions what is culturally acceptable, going against the grain of popular culture by showcasing controversial issues like homosexuality, animal rights, the war on terror, and religion. This subtle form of political analysis is entertaining and great for television ratings, but it also can be an effective means of changing opinions and attitudes on a large scale. To consider another example, what does Star Trek teach viewers about feminist politics? Do comedy programs like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Saturday Night Live advance democracy in ways the mainstream news media cannot? Can horror films contribute to a contemporary understanding of environmentalism?
Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Culture explores how popular culture influences political agendas, frames audience perceptions, and changes values and ideals on both the individual and collective level. Editors Timothy M. Dale and Joseph J. Foy have assembled a top-notch team of scholars from the fields of political science, history, women's and minority studies, film and media studies, communication, music, and philosophy to investigate the full spectrum of popular culture in a democratic society.
Homer Simpson Marches on Washington examines television shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, All in the Family, The View, and The Colbert Report, as well as movies and popular music, demonstrating how covert political and social messages affect the cultural conversation in America. The contributing authors investigate a wide range of controversial topics, including gender, race, religion, class, the environment, and sexual orientation. Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, offers her own story in the book's foreword, describing the societal pressures of being the first female captain in the Star Trek franchise.
In today's fragmented society, audiences are met daily with thousands of messages competing for their attention. Homer Simpson Marches on Washington offers an entertaining and insightful look at how popular culture can break through the clutter and bring about profound changes.
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Dale and Foy compile essays from experts of not only political science but English, history, American studies, communications, film and media studies, women's and gender studies and business. They then integrate familiar references to iconic classics like The Simpsons and Star Trek, while also appealing to the more individualistic stylings of Jericho and the hip hop of Dr Dre and Lil Wayne. Essays remain contemporary by including references to Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Very few books can cover the 1870 labor movement to Rosie O'Donnell's outspoken lifestyle choices, but this one does it well. There is something for everyone. Foy states in the introduction that "pop culture becomes a medium for the expression of countervailing ideas in order to advance change and alter the public conversation." This book does just that. It helps promote discussions about the validity of public dissent displayed in pop culture, questions the role of 'legitimate' news sources, and provides new ways of thinking about democratic participation. I love the "Homer" books for their diversity and ability to integrate so many topics! As social scientists, we need to understand how gender, religion, race, economics, mass media, pop culture and politics are all intertwined. Whether teaching political science, sociology, history, or anything in between, this reader is sure to keep this restless generation of high school and college students interested in learning! I can't wait to see what Homer will discover next!
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