Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 46

presidency, to argue that he actually won the popular vote as well, evincing a concern that speaks to personal charisma rather than legal rule (Blake 2017). Conclusion In the WoW universe, oppressed minorities eventually rebelled against the corrupt Garrosh Hellscream at the end of the Mists of Pandaria expansion, overthrowing him in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid instance, with Vol’jin, a leader of a troll race based on Caribbean lore and traditions, becoming the new Warchief and a woman, Sylvanas, succeeding him. Both represent an accession to power of outcasts and minorities who within the game rise from being oppressed and distrusted to faction leadership. Much of the rhetoric directed against Sylvanas, not only by the opposing Alliance faction but also by male characters of the Horde, resembled criticisms of Clinton in the United States 2016 election, especially in the rhetorical construction of feminine leadership as untrustworthy. What this suggests is that in games and in the real world, racial and gender oppression intersect in similar manners to generate negative perceptions of highly qualified female and minority leadership candidates or leaders. While the Blizzard developers could award Lady Sylvanas the position of Warchief in the imaginary world of Azeroth, and show the effectiveness of her rational pragmatism, Donald Trump, a figure similar to Garrosh Hellscream in rhetorical use of charismatic rather than logical argument, won the 2016 United States Presidential election, albeit not the popular vote. Rhetorical analysis shows that neither the leadership struggles within Azeroth nor in the United States are sui generis, but rather that both are grounded in common persuasive strategies that can be brought into focus by comparative analysis. One particularly interesting feature observable in both contexts is a rise of a rhetoric of female leadership specifically grounded in rational or logical argument. Given that women have limited access to traditional leadership except in a few systems of dynastic or hereditary rule, and that charismatic leadership is often grounded in the dynamics of masculinity, rationality may become a key rhetorical underpinning of female and minority leadership both in the United States (notably in the cases of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) as well as Azeroth. Examining game and political universes in parallel allows exploration of the rhetoric of leadership in a wide range of worlds, both physical and imaginary, revealing common tropes and habits of thought through the ways they are realized across different contexts. 46