Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Culture

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9780813125800: Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Culture
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The Simpsons questions what is culturally acceptable, showcasing controversial issues like homosexuality, animal rights, the war on terror, and religion. This subtle form of political analysis is effective in changing opinions and attitudes on a large scale. Homer Simpson Marches on Washington explores the transformative power that enables popular culture to influence political agendas, frame the consciousness of audiences, and create profound shifts in values and ideals.

To investigate the full spectrum of popular culture in a democratic society, editors Timothy M. Dale and Joseph J. Foy gather a top-notch team of scholars who use television shows such as Star Trek, The X-Files, All in the Family, The View, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and The Colbert Report, as well as movies and popular music, to investigate contemporary issues in American popular culture.

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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.

About the Author:

Timothy M. Dale, assistant professor of political science at the University of
Wisconsin–Green Bay, is coauthor of Political Thinking, Political Theory, and Civil Society. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Joseph J. Foy, assistant professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin–
Waukesha, is the editor of Homer Simpson Goes to Washington: American Politics through Popular Culture. He lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

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