Discussion: Politics and Pop Culture

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Discussion: Politics and Pop Culture

Discussion: Politics and Pop Culture

NOW FOR AN ORIGINAL PAPER ASSIGNMENT: Discussion: Politics and Pop Culture

Under the British parliamentary system, the executive branch—the prime minister and the cabinet—is formed after each election and consists of the leaders of the victorious party within the House of Commons, endorsed by the Parliament and appointed by the queen. Although all members of Parliament, including those in the opposition party, are free to question and criticize, the victors control the government.

When a victorious party leader takes over in the United Kingdom, it is understood the new government will serve for no more than five years before seeking a new mandate from the voters. A British PM’s job security entirely depends on his or her ability to maintain “confidence”—an elusive but vital intangible in British politics. Think about what the ever-present possibility of falling from power means in practice.

Politics and Pop Culture “You Might Think That …

… but I couldn’t possibly comment.” This is the famous line spoken by Ian Richardson’s character, Francis Urquhart, in the House of Cards trilogy. The title is a clever wordplay on the British House of Commons. Urquhart is the cunning Chief Whip of the Conservative Party whose life ambition is to become prime minister. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants. An attractive young woman plays a key role in the story; she’s a journalist who has ambitions of her own. They use each other. It’s a fatal attraction fit for a plot in Shakespeare (think: Macbeth and Richard III).

House of Cards is a television drama that originally aired on the BBC in 1990. After much critical acclaim, two sequels were made: “To Play the King” and “The Final Cut.” Andrew Davies adapted all three screenplays from books written by Michael Dobbs, a former Chief of Staff at Conservative Party headquarters when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister. The BBC series later aired on public television in the United States and again gained a wide audience and high praise. In 2013, a new adaptation of the story, starring Kevin Spacey as Francis “Frank” Underwood as the Majority Whip of the Democratic Party, was commissioned and released by Netflix.


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