Ronald Reagan dead

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Sat Jun 05 2004 - 20:33:39 EDT

Such was the society of the spectacle in the mid 1980s:

In a brilliant paper that received unusual attention, elicited a
response from a White House speech-writer, and most recently
generated a segment on CBS's "Sixty Minutes," the political scientist
and historical Michael Rogin recently observed the number of times
President Reagan has, at critical moments in his career, quoted lines
from his own or other popular films. The President is a man, Rogin
remarks, "whose most spontaneous moments - ("Where do we find such
men?" about the American D-Day dead; "I am paying for this
microphone, Mr. Green," during the 1980 New Hampshire primary debate)
- are not only preserved and projected on film, but also turn out to
be lines from old movies." To a remarkable extent, Ronald Reagan, who
made his final Hollywood film, The Killers in 1964, continues to live
within the movies; he has been shaped by them, draws much of his cold
war rhetoric from them, and cannot or will not distinguish between
them and an external reality. Indeed, his political career has
depended upon an ability to project himself and his mass audience
into a realm in which there is no distinction between simulation and

The response from Anthony Dolan, a White House speech-writer who was
asked to comment on Rogin's paper, was highly revealing. "What he's
really saying," Dolan suggested, "is that all of us are deeply
affected by a uniquely American art form: the movies." [. . .]
Movies, Dolan told the New York Times reporter, "heighten reality
rather than lessen it."

remembering Reagan:

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