AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

???You can fool some of the people some of the time???: perspective by incongruity in Ballyhoo magazine, 1931-1932

by Troy Cooper

Institution: University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Department: 0313
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Keywords: perspective by incongruity
Record ID: 2062632
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/72796


This study analyzes two years of images from Ballyhoo magazine (1931-1932) as a form of visual rhetoric. I analyze the visual rhetoric of Ballyhoo to illustrate how it treated three important issues of 1930s America. First, Ballyhoo portrays Prohibition as a detrimental policy and scapegoats its creators and maintainers. Second, Ballyhoo comments on the Great Depression by both ridiculing the wealthy and powerful and identifying the ironies of living poor amid the Depression. Finally, in its critiques of consumer culture, and especially advertising, Ballyhoo employs parody to rhetorical effect by mocking the entire advertising enterprise. This study contextualizes, analyzes, and interprets Ballyhoo???s production of perspective by incongruity on the most pressing issues of the early 1930s. Ultimately, Ballyhoo succeeded in constructing a critical rhetoric of incongruity that was both timely in the 1930s and foundational to contemporary critiques that employ perspective by incongruity.