Redeeming the Maverick McCain: Game Change as Hyperreal Campaign History

Michael J. Steudeman, Trevor Parry-Giles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The 2013 HBO film Game Change manifests a different type of campaign history: a hyperreal campaign history characterized by fictionalization and fragmentation, by affect and magnified hyper-realism. As a victimage ritual, Game Change relocates reactionary conservative elements of McCain’s identity to the “sacrificial vessel” of a mediated Sarah Palin, salvaging McCain’s political identity in the process. Ironically, this “authentic” image of McCain emerges from a hyperreal text that collapses on itself via its layers of self-reflexive imaging. Ultimately, Game Change complicates the campaign history genre by interrogating the affective memory of the 2008 campaign while upholding its generic obligation to provide an accessible account of events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-572
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Quarterly
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 19 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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