Creatures of Politics by Michael Lempert
Media, Message, and the American Presidency

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Synopsis

It’s a common complaint that a presidential candidate's style matters more than substance and that the issues have been eclipsed by mass-media-fueled obsession with a candidate’s every slip, gaffe, and peccadillo. This book explores political communication in American presidential politics, focusing on what political insiders call "message." Message, Michael Lempert and Michael Silverstein argue, is not simply an individual’s positions on the issues but the craft used to fashion the creature the public sees as the candidate. Lempert and Silverstein examine some of the revelatory moments in debates, political ads, interviews, speeches, and talk shows to explain how these political creations come to have a life of their own. From the pandering "Flip-Flopper" to the self-reliant "Maverick," the authors demonstrate how these figures are fashioned out of the verbal, gestural, sartorial, behavioral—as well as linguistic—matter that comprises political communication.

 

About Michael Lempert

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Michael Lempert is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and author of Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery.Michael Silverstein is Charles F. Grey Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology, Linguistics, and Psychology and in the Committee on Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. His published works include Talking Politics: The Substance of Style from Abe to "W."
 
Published September 12, 2012 by Indiana University Press. 275 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Talking Politics: The Substance of Style from Abe to “W,” 2003, etc.) argue that high-minded moralizing about the victory of style over substance in presidential campaigns misses the point about what really goes into the power struggles of “late democracy”—their term, following the Frankfurt Scho...

Sep 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Creatures of Politics: Media,...

Publishers Weekly

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Timed to arrive just before the full fervor of the presidential election sweeps across the country later this year, Lempert (Discipline and Debate: The Language of Violence in a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery) and Silverstein's (Talking Politics: The Substance of Style from Abe to "W.") work deconstr...

Sep 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Creatures of Politics: Media,...

ForeWord Reviews

The authors consider the ways John McCain’s campaign reused negative messaging about Barack Obama from the Hillary Clinton campaign, how McCain used his reputation for “straight talk” to his advantage during the Republican primaries, and how the choice of Sarah Palin for vice president played int...

Sep 12 2012 | Read Full Review of Creatures of Politics: Media,...

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