Introduction: Politics, Media, and Meaning

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This issue discusses the politics, media, and meaning of the 2012 election season.

Tamara Watkins and Mike Mosher

Hello, we're calling to ask you to take a short, three-question political poll....

No, we're not. We're as tired of the Election 2012 season as you are. However, we would be remiss if we didn't take this opportunity to discuss the political insanity that current grips our nation. For the past several months—which really feel like several years—we have had a front row seat to watch the advent of widespread political use of electronic and social media, politicians try to take away citizens' rights, and the intersection of politics and labor. Finally, as always, we consider the myriad ways in which popular culture, media figures, and art can influence public discourse and how we view the public sphere.

Gregory G. Jackson wonders, "As the Rerun Airs: Is the United States Finally Ready for Social Democracy?"

Dan Faltesek sees the well-funded landscape of political advertising as one whose electronic media dictates "No Touching" of the germ-laden corpus of the electorate.

Tamara Watkins discusses the importance of this election for women. We look back one last time on Michele Bachmann's attempt to gain the GOP nomination in "My Problem With Michele" and at Republicans' opposition to reproductive rights in "Sex, Drugs and Republicans."

Information activist Harry Hammitt looks at the past three-and-a-half years and sees no progress of Freedom of Information Under Obama while Mike Mosher hopes the election moves us Towards More Perfect Unions: Michigan Labor and the 2012 Election.

Joseph Natoli's "The Presidential Election Season: the Future Envisioned" discusses Neoliberalism and its place in the 2012 election.

In Why Chelsea Handler Matters, Tamara Watkins appreciates a comedian's sassy and unrepentant approach to women’s reproductive rights.

The stars and stripes visible outside your polling place is re-envisioned in "Middleland: Some Drawings and Photographs" by Melissa Vandenberg. Yet Chad M. White reacts with horror when "Mitt Eats" while, soon after, "Romney's Mark of Cain" is detected and poked by Pauly Bunyansky.

This election season, we have heard a lot of rhetoric. We have argued with our friends, family, and neighbors. No one knows for sure which candidates will win their elections. We do not know how America will look politically on the morning of November 7. The one thing we do know for sure is that we cannot wait for all of this campaigning to be over.

--November 5, 2012

Copyright © Tamara Watkins and Mike Mosher. All rights reserved.

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