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Politics & Current Affairs

The Semiotics of ‘Mama Grizzly’

“My sense is that the mama-grizzly phenomenon is part of populist conservatism’s obsession with American authenticity.” The Economist on why mama-grizzly has nothing to do with policy.

“What I would like from a survey of the mama-grizzly phenomenon is an analysis of its cultural and thus political significance unclouded by the mistaken expectation that policy should have much of anything to do with it. Ms Miller writes, “If the grizzlies are united by an anti-establishment fury rooted in maternal concern, then it’s fair to ask what their records show they’ve done for kids.” It’s fair to ask, but it’s not very interesting, is it? What’s interesting, to me at least, is the idea that motherhood, which is only slightly more unusual than having been born female, confers upon women some kind of politically relevant authority.”


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