Dr. Brian Ott is the Head of the Department of Communication at Missouri State University. He is a scholar and public intellectual who has been studying rhetoric, media, and their intersection for more than 20 years. He has authored numerous books and essays on the changing nature of communication in the digital era, and he has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and Politico among others. His op-eds have appeared in outlets such as USA Today, Newsweek, Salon, and The Hill.
He’s also the author of The Twitter Presidency: Donald J. Trump and the Politics of White Rage. The book explores the rhetorical style of President Donald J. Trump, attending to both his general manner of speaking as well as to his preferred modality. Trump’s manner, the authors argue, reflects an aesthetics of white rage, and it is rooted in authoritarianism, narcissism, and demagoguery. His preferred modality of speaking, namely through Twitter, effectively channels and transmits the affective dimensions of white rage by taking advantage of the platform’s defining characteristics, which include simplicity, impulsivity, and incivility.
But mostly I know Brian as one of my absolute favorite people on the planet to have a conversation with. We met during my time at Colorado State University where he became the inside member of my thesis committee, I served as TA for two of his classes, and we generally grew very fond of each other during our time there. We’ve kept in touch since, and this was a perfect opportunity to catch up.
We discuss not only his book (co-authored with my thesis chair, and current Department Chair of Communication Studies at Colorado State, Dr. Greg Dickinson), but also cable news, the utility of social media, places of public memory, the fragility of democracy, and a ton more. Brian is a brilliant academic with a warm heart and a delightful conversational style that’s insightful without being overbearing.
You can buy The Twitter Presidency: Donald J. Trump and the Politics of White Rage at the link. You can find Brian’s other works on Academia.edu and Muckrack.com.