Dannagal Goldthwaite Young

Nov 27, 2020

Irony and Outrage

The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the United States

Oxford University Press 2019

On this episode of the New Books Network, Dr. Lee Pierce (s/t) Dr. Dannagal Goldthwaite Young (s/h) about why liberals love satire and conservative love outrage and how the two are merging and diverging in today’s world of media consolidation and political polarization.

In Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the United States (Oxford UP, 2019), Young looks at two distinct genres of communication—irony and outrage—and their respective appeals to liberals and conservatives. Whereas liberal minds lean toward the ambiguity and play of irony, as exemplified in the daily show, conservative minds lean toward certainty and vigilance, as exemplified by Sean Hannity. Young argues that the roles that 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. One key way in which they differ, however, concludes Young, is in their capacity to be exploited by special interests and political elites.

Read Young's article, "The Lincoln Project and the Conservative Aesthetic." 

We hope you enjoyed listening as much as we enjoyed chatting about this fascinating book. Connect with your host, Lee Pierce, @rhetoriclee on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Gmail for interview previews, the best book selfies, and new episode alerts.

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