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Popular Culture as Political Communication, Vol. 7 - 2000, No. 2

Frames of Presidential and Candidate Politics in American Films of the 1990s

, pages: 19-32

The 1990s saw a surprisingly large number of American film treatments of national politics in general and the presidency in particular. It is instructive to compare the way politics is constructed in such films with the legacy of such film representations since the 1930s. This legacy has been influenced by short-term trends, but two powerful motifs have been the Cold War, and the belief in democratic reform and renewal. The nineties saw greater cynicism about politics in America, and filmmakers have done more to accentuate than to redress this trend. In particular films such as Bob Roberts, Wag the Dog and Bulworth suggest the power of a military industrial complex beyond the reach of efforts at political reform. Mainstream film contrasts a politics of self-interest and incumbency against one of conviction and service, but also finds it difficult to provide realistic scenarios of renewal. This trend is related to American cultural fragmentation and the erosion of myths associated with what Lind calls .Euro-America.

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