Title

Presidential rhetoric's visual turn: Performance fragments and the politics of illusionism

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2000

Department

Communication Studies

Abstract

This essay explores the aesthetic and rhetorical implications of prudent and imprudent presidential performance fragments embodied in photo-opportunities, thereby addressing Presidential rhetoric's "visual turn." Assembled as a critical rhetoric text, this essay posits that presidential performance fragments privilege the dominant ideology and its power relationships. In addition, this project argues that prudent Presidential performances signal a chief executive's consubstantiality with the mythic presidency, centralized authority, and active, political leadership. Imprudent photo-opportunity performances, by contrast, impact negatively a president's image, agenda, credibility, and authority. The essay concludes with a discussion of how political images symbolically affect the citizenry and democratic processes, and advances foundational issues for the critic.

Publication Title

COMMUNICATION MONOGRAPHS

Volume

67

Issue

2

First Page

138

Last Page

157