"Flash Effect covers an interesting and important subject in a new way, constitutes up-to-date and innovative scholarship, and has much to teach scholars in a number of fields. Tietge's book is interdisciplinary work at its best."
Mary Ann Heiss, author of Empire and Nationhood
The ways science and technology are portrayed in advertising, in the news, in our politics, and in the culture at large inform the way we respond to these particular facts of life. The better we are at recognizing the rhetorical intentions of the purveyors of information and promoters of mass culture, the more adept we become at responding intelligently to them.
Flash Effect, a startling book by David J. Tietge, documents the manner in which those at the highest levels of our political and cultural institutions conflated the rhetoric of science and technology with the rhetorics of religion and patriotism to express their policies for governance at the onset of the Cold War and to explain them to the American public.
Professor Tietge details our cultural attitudes about science in the early years of the Cold War, when on the heels of a great technological victory Americans were faced with the possibility of destruction by the very weapons that had saved them.
In Flash Effect we learn how, by symbolizing the scientist as both a father figure and a savior—and by celebrating the technological objects of his labor—the campaign to promote science took hold in the American consciousness. The products of that attitude are with us today more than ever.
David J. Tietge is an assistant professor of English at Long Island University, where he directs the writing program and teaches writing and rhetorical theory. He has published on Kenneth Burke and the role of scientific language in culture in The Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. More info →
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During World War II, U.S. businesses devised marketing strategies that encouraged consumers to believe their country’s wartime experience would launch a better America. Advertisements and promotional articles celebrated the immense industrial output that corporations achieved during the war.
For hundreds of years, military intervention in another country was considered taboo and prohibited by international law. Since 1992, intervention has often been described as an international responsibility, and efforts have been made to give it legal justification. This extraordinary change in perceptions has taken place in only the space of a decade.
The essays collected here, somewhat autobiographical in their effect, range from a discussion of the despair of the Cold War and Vietnam in 1966 to reflections on the euphoria over the ending of the Cold War in Eastern Europe in 1990. The opening essays are general in nature: exploring the foundation and limitation of sound morality; examining what is “American” about American morality; measuring all by the yardsticks provided by classical and modern philosophers.