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ASSIGNMENT #5: AT THE MOVIES (Language and Politics in Film)

Watch one of the following movie:


Wag the Dog:


For this essay you will be analyzing one of the above-mentioned movies for ways in which language and imagery are used to accomplish the (political) goals of the protagonist(s).


In your analysis and discussion, you will need to consider the following questions:


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     How is imagery used to generate emotional responses in the public?


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     What kind of “spin” is put on an event or scandal in the film? How are language and imagery used to accomplish this? (Especially relevant to Wag the Dog)


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     How is language used by the protagonist to distort, manipulate, or obscure facts? What kind of slogans and empty rhetoric does he use?


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     How does a propaganda campaign start and how is it disseminated in this film? What kinds of fallacious arguments or appeals are used?



NOTE: These are not the only aspects of language, imagery, or propaganda that you can address in your essay. In regards to Bob Roberts, you may find that music also plays a role in the protagonist’s image he presents to the public. Feel free to explore other related areas—especially those involving the use and abuse of language—that you feel are relevant.

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