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Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Jon F. Schamber

First Committee Member

Shawn Batt

Second Committee Member

Qingwen Dong

Abstract

This thesis investigates the worldview of six rhetors of the far-right using the rhetorical method of fantasy theme analysis. The specific rhetors examined in this study are Peter J. Peters, Dan Gayman, Edward Fields, Fred Phelps, Jeny Falwell, and James Dobson. In order to understand the discourse of the six rhetors, five research questions were developed to guide the study: (1) What are the images portrayed of homosexuals and gay rights advocates in the fantasy themes of the rhetors examined in this study? (2) What are the images portrayed of Christians in the fantasy themes of the rhetors examined in this study? (3) How do the fantasy themes differ in extremity among the rhetors of the far-tight with regard to homosexuality and supporters of gay lights? (4) How do the fantasy themes of the rhetors work together to create a rhetolical vision for the far-light regarding homosexuality? (5) How do the collective fantasy themes of the far-right rhetors potentially influence actions against and aggression towards homosexuals? In order to answer these questions, a fantasy theme analysis was conducted on various artifacts of the six rhetors chosen for examination in this thesis. The analysis indicated that the fantasy themes of the rhetors work together to create a rhetorical vision in which a drama is played out. In this drama, homosexuals and supporters of gay rights are depicted as villains and fundamentalist Christians are characterized as heroes. Through the depictions of these characters and their actions the ultimate ideal of America as a country is provided. This ultimate ideal focuses on a setting where homosexuals do not exist and gay rights is not an issue. Through these fantasy themes the rhetors encourage America's patriots and fundamentalist Christians to remove homosexuals from society. In addition, the collective rhetorical vision of the six rhetors provides motives for aggressive actions against homosexuals, including acts of violence.

Pages

131

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