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Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the U.S.
A Book Talk with Dannagal G. Young

Date October 7, 2020

Time 1:00pm

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Irony and Outrage: The Polarized Landscape of Rage, Fear, and Laughter in the U.S.
A Book Talk with Dannagal G. Young

A co-sponsored program with the Rutgers School of Communication and Information open only to Rutgers students, faculty, and staff.

For almost a decade, journalists and pundits have been asking why we don’t see successful examples of political satire from conservatives or of opinion talk radio from liberals.

In her book, Irony and Outrage, Dannagal G. Young turns that question on its head to argue that opinion talk is the political satire of the right and political satire is the opinion programming of the left. They look and feel like two different animals because their audiences are literally two different animals. Drawing on decades of research on political and media psychology and media effects, as well as historical accounts and interviews with comedians and comedy writers, Young unpacks satire’s liberal “bias” and juxtaposes it with that of outrage’s conservative “bias.”

Using research from political psychology, she details how traits like tolerance for ambiguity and the motivation to engage with complex ideas shape our preferences for art, music, and literature; and how those same traits correlate with political ideology. In turn, she illustrates how these traits help explain why liberals and conservatives vary in the genres of political information they prefer to create and consume. In this colloquium, Young will present the core argument of her book, and will explore how these same dynamics are at play in our current political, media, and health context.

Dannagal G. Young (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, 2007) is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Delaware where she studies the content, audience, and effects of political humor. She has authored over forty academic articles and book chapters exploring themes related to political entertainment, media psychology, public opinion, and misinformationHer latest book “Irony and Outrage examines satire and outrage as the logical extensions of the respective psychological profiles of liberals and conservatives (Oxford University Press, 2020: available here). Young was awarded the University of Delaware’s Excellence in Teaching Award in 2014 and is also a TED Speaker.