Scolding John Q.: Articulating a Normative Relationship between Politics and Entertainment
This is an electronic version of an article published in The Communication Review 8.1 (2005): 79-104. The Communication Review is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713728640~db=all
The 2002 hostage drama John Q. triggered a discussion among journalists, the public, and the policy community about the proper relationship between politics and entertainment. In this debate the criteria for good journalism and good political discourse were frequently invoked to evaluate this Hollywood film. This discussion, which spilled out of the film criticism pages into news and commentary pages, shows how public sphere models of political discourse are privileged even though they may not be a good fit for fictional media. John Q.’s success in triggering public discussion and awareness about health policy issues seems to illustrate DeLuca & Peeples’ (2002) claim that the “public screen” is a more useful metaphor for thinking about politics than the public sphere (Habermas, 1989). John Q. seemed to particularly raise the ire of critics because of its unambiguous critique of domestic policy and its implicit suggestion that collective solutions are needed.
Emily West. "Scolding John Q.: Articulating a Normative Relationship between Politics and Entertainment" The Communication Review 8.1 (2005): 79-104.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/emily_west/8