Total Propaganda: From Mass Culture to Popular Culture

By Alex S. Edelstein | Go to book overview

PART V
Tradeprop and Politicalprop THE PRODUCTION OF LEXICONS

Tradeprop and politicalprop are the major producers of lexicons in the popular culture. The political wars over trade policies exploited the languages of naftoids, fictoids, and visions of GATT. The most remembered cliché was the "sucking sounds of jobs" going south across the Rio Grande. The most appreciated rejoinder was the observation that only Ross Perot had ears large enough to hear those sounds.

Politicalprop 1992 was lexically the creation of "gridlock" and "credibility." Yet gridlock simply defined was a product of the diversity in the popular culture and the futile efforts of politicians to respond to it. Most of the politicians and the press simply didn't get it.

By contrast, politicalprop 1994 was the apotheosis of angerprop and saw the triumph of talk radio. Its lexicon, the Contract With America, lived a short life. What voters got is not what voters wanted.

Politicalprop 1996 tested the "softprop" of a backtracking Bob Dole against the "sweetprop" of President Bill Clinton. Sooner or later -- for Dole sooner than Clinton -- hardprop would set in again, and the oldprop would contest with the new.

The polls hinted that softprop and newprop would win the day, and that predicted the reelection of President Clinton, all other things being equal.

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