With the election of US President Donald Trump, the separation between high and low politics and the line between fiction and reality has become fundamentally blurred. Yet popular culture offers an important vector through which we might make sense of this political turmoil. The purpose of this essay is two-fold: conceptually, I examine how television provides opportunities for the insight into the visual and emotional registers of the post-truth era. I illustrate this empirically by examining two popular television series–Homeland and The Good Fight. I argue that the power of popular culture is derived from its visuality as the intersection of image and sound, through which emotional registers related to anxiety and outrage can be elicited and visually narrated. Even more so, the visual nature of popular culture has a strong affective component that shapes how we experience representations of reality and reveals the power and political significance of popular culture.
- Popular culture
- visual politics