Entertainment, the Personal, and the Political: Therapeutic Rhetoric and Popular Culture Controversies

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This article examines the phenomenon of resistance to popular culture criticism in U.S. discourse by analyzing the controversy surrounding two popular culture artifacts: a series of Taco Bell advertisements featuring a Spanish- speaking Chihuahua, and a Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area radio program that mocked a young Hmong rape victim who committed infanticide. Dismissal of popular culture criticism in reaction to these controversies reflects the genre of therapeutic rhetoric, or discourse that surrounds the U.S. propensity to understand and discuss social problems through the terministic screen of individualism.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10714420390184204

Affiliations: Department of Speech Communication Colorado State University

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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