26 February 2009

George W. Bush and the Chosen Adventure of 2004

Dude, it's 2009; why bother discussing the '04 election now?  I'll tell you why.  First, because as a historian I feel there is no expiration date on discourse.  Second, because I just thought of this angle and researched it.  Third, because I can't research the '08 election yet.

The theory is simple.  People flock to see movies, and those trends suggest something about our society's state of mind for the year.  That "something" is linked to, if not the same thing as, the part that casts ballots on Election Day.  Armed with IMDB's list of the Top Grossing Movies of 2004 and my handy dandy paperback copy of Cinescopes, I have determined that Americans, in 2004, were Chosen Adventurers.

This is how George W. Bush defeated John Kerry.  Mr. Bush has always projected himself as a man of destiny, guided by God.  What could Mr. Kerry possibly have done to compete with that in a year of Chosen Adventurer voters?  In truth, nothing.  Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans re-upped their subscriptions to Manifest Destiny Weekly and the president was on the cover of every issue.  We wanted, maybe even needed, to feel that we were John Winthrop's "city on a hill," a beacon of hope and leadership to the rest of the world.  That kind of thinking is audacious, and clearly it infected us--and carried Mr. Bush to re-election.

The Top Ten Grossing Movies of 2004, with Cinescopes Personality Types
  1. Shrek 2 - Magical Creator*
  2. Spider-Man 2 - Chosen Adventurer, Destined Hunter
  3. The Passion of the Christ - Determined Survivor, Passionate Maverick
  4. Meet the Fockers - Invincible Optimist
  5. The Incredibles - Chosen Adventurer
  6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Magical Creator, Youthful Sage, Chosen Adventurer
  7. The Day After Tomorrow - Determined Survivor, Passionate Maverick, Loyal Warrior
  8. The Bourne Supremacy - Chosen Adventurer*
  9. National Treasure - Chosen Adventurer
  10. Shark Tale - Chosen Adventurer, Invincible Optimist
*These titles are not listed in the movies index, but these are the same codes as the other films in their series, so I assumed they would be the same.

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