Myth, Politics and Representation
As evidenced by the election of celebrity and reality television star Donald Trump, popular culture has played a vital role in the conceptualisation of political leadership. This revised edition of The American President in Film and Television explores the complex relationship between the construction of fictional presidents on screen and the political cultures from which they emerged. How have our popular cultural fantasies of presidential leadership contributed to the current political reality? Combining textual analysis with close attention to political and historical contexts, the book addresses the reasons behind the proliferation of images of the president in the past twenty-five years, from the archetype in American genre cinema (Air Force One, Independence Day and Deep Impact) to the idealised fantasy figure in network television (The West Wing, 24 and Commander in Chief). With the election of a president whose worldview appears to have been formed entirely by the aesthetics and rhetoric of popular culture, where does the presidency – either on screen or in the White House – go from here?
About the book
‘In the age of Trump, cinema’s relationship to politics has become more important than ever. In Frame’s brilliant book, the way presidents – real and fictional – have been portrayed on film becomes almost a playbook for the rise and conduct of the forty-fifth chief executive.’
— Ian Scott, author of American Politics in Hollywood Film
‘Published at a time in which a “fictional” president occupies the real White House (as argued by the new preface written in the light of Donald Trump’s election), the revised edition of this book further underlines the urgent value of attending to the representation of the Commander in Chief in American film and television drama. Strongly grounded in the analysis of film and television style as well as the politics of representation, Frame’s account is an essential read for anyone interested in the portrayal of political power in twentieth- and twenty-first-century America.’
— Tom Brown, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, King’s College London
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