Trumping the Id: from Jerry Springer to the Republican Repressed
Speaker: Prof. Debbie Epstein - University of Roehampton, UK
Venue: Hall E, M.A. Vassalli Conference Centre - Gateway Building (GWHE)
'The triumphalist arrival of Donald Trump in the Republican primaries of 2016 represents a moment in which US politics has come to resemble, indeed mimic, the expulsive character of the reality aesthetic. Taking The Jerry Springer Show as the starting point for what Deborah Lynn Steinberg and I previously called 'Id TV' (Epstein and Steinberg 2003), I will argue that it heralded a generic shift in reality television, embracing what we termed 'cruelty realism'. The Jerry Springer Show was the first of this new fare of 'reality television' premised on modes of cruelty and humiliation.
Significantly, the show (unlike most of its early contemporaries) continues to be produced and internationally syndicated. Perhaps most importantly, the Springeresque aesthetic has informed multiple genres, from the USA's 24-hour news culture to cross-national modes of 'reality documentary' scurrilously focused on 'street criminals' and the poor, and could be seen in Trump's own version of the, originally British reality show, The Apprentice.