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Irony and OutrageThe Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the United States$
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Dannagal Goldthwaite Young

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190913083

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190913083.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 January 2020

Irony and Outrage

Irony and Outrage

A Wild Raccoon Versus a Well-Trained Attack Dog

(p.207) 11 Irony and Outrage
Irony and Outrage

Dannagal Goldthwaite Young

Oxford University Press

This chapter summarizes the book’s main arguments: that irony and outrage are the logical extensions of the psychology of liberalism and conservatism; that the two genres have parallel histories and serve similar political functions for their audiences. It also argues that satire and outrage are not the same. They look, feel, and sound different due to the distinct needs and psychological and physiological profiles of their creators and audiences. The book concludes with a proposition that the distinct psychological profiles of the left and right are equally necessary for a functioning democratic society. However, it highlights how the symbiosis between outrage programming and the psychology of the right makes conservative outrage a fruitful mechanism for elite propaganda and mobilization—in a way that satire simply is not. If outrage is a well-trained attack dog that operates on command, satire is a raccoon—hard to domesticate and capable of turning on anyone at any time.

Keywords:   democracy, propaganda, mobilization, White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, agitation propaganda, Jacques Ellul, Sean Hannity, Fox News, Donald Trump

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