Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 45

Jesus, Muhammad, or Buddha rely on charismatic authority as did Napoleon Bonaparte, Julius Caesar, and Adolf Hitler. Weber himself considered the Athenian demagogues to have been examples of charismatic leadership (1958) although Ober has argued against Weber in favor of a more nuanced legal/rational account of Athenian democracy (1991, 123-124). While the established leadership of Azeroth tends to be traditional, we also encounter charismatic leadership, often acting as a disruptive force. Vol’jin, a troll who leads a revolution, Garrosh, who breaks free of tradition, and Sylvanas who creates the Foresaken ex nihilo, all act as charismatic figures, but both Sylvanas and Vol’jin strive to normalize their leadership within traditional and rational systems. Garrosh, however, moves in the opposite direction, starting out as a traditional figure but then breaking away from that pattern to assert charismatic authority. Rational/Legal Authority: Weber associated rational/legal authority most strongly with the bureaucratic state (1958, 1-3). In this system, authority is not vested in the person per se, but in the office. The corporate manager, the member of a representative assembly, the military officer, or the factory foreman has no claim to authority as an individual person, but rather the position itself has authority and the person holding the position authority ex officio in so far as the person legitimately holds the office according to a rule-based set of criteria. Although Azeroth is imagined as a traditional society, Blizzard Entertainment is an American company, and thus part of the same bureaucratic culture in which Trump and Clinton operate. Moreover, although the imaginary universe of Azeroth is a traditional culture, as a player, one’s engagement with the world is mediated by the rules of game play and terms of service created by Blizzard. Legalism is the mode under which video games operate and rationalism or logos the primary form of argument used to sustain it. The “blue posts” in community forums in which Blizzard staff explain their plans and choices to players tend to make rational arguments rather than simply citing their authority to make choices about the game or appealing to their own personal charisma. Of the two American politicians, Clinton, a trained lawyer, also tended to frame her goals as working for ideals within a system governed by rules and precedent. Trump, on the other hand, although embedded within a legalistic system, often argues as a charismatic leader. For example, not content with having won the Electoral College, something that is the legal basis on which presidents are elected, Trump has continued, even several months into his 45