American idiot to the "American eulogy"
Long, Lacey Brittany
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Green Day's first mainstream album, American Idiot, protests at once the Iraq War, President Bush, and American credulity and paranoia. Released mere weeks before the 2004 presidential election, American Idiot responds to the Bitzerian exigence of wars, media-fueled panic, and domestic oppression, with the immediate goal of swaying the presidential election away from George W. Bush. I examine this album and the later 21st Century Breakdown in the context of its rhetorical situation as defined by Bitzer, challenged by Vatz, and modified by Consigny. Green Day constructs its argument for youth political action through three major archetypes—the credulous Idiot, the Last of the rebels, and the Faggot protester—encouraging listeners to participate in their fictive lives and learn that mass peaceful protest with the solidarity of powerful allies remains the only sustainable and honorable action in the face of wars, distortion, and injustice.