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Susan Christia1 - Susan Christian GOVT 2301(CV Paranoid...

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Susan Christian GOVT 2301 (CV) Paranoid American Culture: The Ironies and Misfortunes that Exist in American Government Today The Manchurian Candidate is an example of the era that Hofstadter claims that the “paranoid style” is characterized by three main traits: the inflated passions through the use of histrionic rhetoric, the always distrustful nature that prevails in all arguments, and the conspiracy-laden thoughts that come across as delusional statements. In many ways, this style is prevalent throughout The Manchurian Candidate. However, the mindset is somewhat lampooned – Mrs. Iselin’s use of bombastic accusations of infringement of American democracy by Communists is ironic in her own position as a Communist. Thus, the claims she makes essentially undermine the little, if any, foundation of the paranoid style. If one
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were to go about seeing the upper levels of politics with a suspicious eye and subsequently rally behind those who were “American enough” to call the so called Communists out, it would only make one appear foolish for becoming a mindless, foolish follower. Consequently, both Hofstadter and The Manchurian Candidate view the paranoid style as a very unfortunate case of many easily convinced folk who trust the rhetoric of government officials with questionable motives. In the first case, the motives make themselves very obvious. Senator Iselin is not very well known or liked and therefore needs a catalyst to a higher position in his career. Cleverly and rather deceitfully, he (or rather, his wife) uses the guise of American democracy as a means of gathering attention. At the conference, he loudly makes blind and rather ambiguous statements about the blatant Communism that exists within the realms of government. The audience is quick to react to the provocative statements and Iselin gets just want he wants – the much needed attention that a candidate needs. The most amusing part in all this is how he has practically no
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