cover of book

The Prime-Time Presidency: The West Wing and U.S. Nationalism
by Shawn J. Parry-Giles and Shawn J. Parry-Giles
University of Illinois Press, 2006
Paper: 978-0-252-07312-0 | Cloth: 978-0-252-03065-9 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09209-1
Library of Congress Classification PN1992.77.W44P37 2006
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.4572

Contrasting strong women and multiculturalism with portrayals of a heroic white male leading the nation into battle, The Prime-Time Presidency explores the NBC drama The West Wing, paying particular attention to its role in promoting cultural meaning about the presidency and U.S. nationalism. Based in a careful, detailed analysis of the "first term" of The West Wing's President Josiah Bartlet, this criticism highlights the ways the text negotiates powerful tensions and complex ambiguities at the base of U.S. national identity--particularly the role of gender, race, and militarism in the construction of U.S. nationalism. Unlike scattered and disparate collections of essays, Trevor Parry-Giles and Shawn J. Parry-Giles offer a sustained, ideologically driven criticism of The West Wing. The Prime-time Presidency presents a detailed critique of the program rooted in presidential history, an appreciation of television's power as a source of political meaning, and television's contribution to the articulation of U.S. national identity.
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