PSA: if you are a museum guest and know you have a case of resting bitch face, please nod or smile at regular intervals during your tour. Guides frighten easily.
Interesting article from the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society on Adlai Stevenson and the role television played in the 1956 presidential election.
Speeches were Adlai Ewing Stevenson II’s greatest strength, but they were also his greatest weakness. During the 1950s, when the televised image assumed an increasingly important role in winning and losing elections, Stevenson failed to transcend the image of a speaker. Although eloquent to be sure, he seemed abstracted and detached—an observer rather than a leader. In his 1952 presidential campaign, that image—together with speeches filled with reason, wit, and grace—won the plaudits of many intellectuals. On the other hand, his speeches often confused or bored many other Americans.
"Adlai Stevenson, Television, and the Presidential Campaign of 1956," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Volume 89, Spring 1996 via the Illinois State Library [PDF]
Stevenson’s opponent, Dwight David Eisenhower, more practically strove for communication, rather than eloquence. Where Stevenson appeared to make a fetish of reason, Eisenhower recognized that effective communication depended more on stimulating a sense of shared emotion. His highly effective spot advertisements on television identified with the needs and yearnings of ordinary voters.
Eisenhower’s victory, due in part to a sophisticated use of television, taught many Democrats that political success in the future would depend on mastering the arcane techniques of the new medium.
Read more …