• No Laughing Matter: Fairy Tales and the 2016 US Presidential Election

    dhaase (see profile)
    GS Folklore, Myth, and Fairy Tale
    Fairy tales, Satire, Social conflict--Political aspects, Tales, Memes, Folklore
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, 2016 presidential election, Humor, Political conflict, Folktales, Internet memes
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    Weaponizing the fairy tale in the service of political persuasion and propaganda is a popular tactic. In times of conflict, fairy-tale motifs are often adapted for political satire and commentary in a variety of popular media, from poetry and protest songs to caricatures and cartoons. In the 2016 American presidential election--which provided more than ample grist for the mill of humor and satire--the fairy tale reliably served as a fertile source of narratives and imagery for electoral comparisons, commentary, and criticism, especially on the Internet. Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, the Emperor with No Clothes, and many others appeared in articles, blogs, memes, jokes, artwork, editorial cartoons, political fiction, YouTube videos, and other media to lampoon, malign, critique, and promote presidential candidates. However, the election and its aftermath have not always been a laughing matter, especially since the controversies, ideological disputes, acrimony, and extreme anxiety that characterized the presidential race have continued seamlessly and even more intensely into 2017. This essay examines not only the fairy tale’s satirical role in political critique and advocacy during the presidential campaigns, but also how it has been used by a defeated and shaken opposition to conceptualize political resistance following the election and inauguration.
    Published in volume 2 of Terra ridens - Terra narrans: Festschrift zum 65. Geburtstag von Ulrich Marzolph, ed. Regina F. Bendix and Dorothy Noyes (Dortmund: Verlag für Orientkunde, 2018).
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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