Showbiz imperialism
The Case of Peter Lobengula
in Imperialism and Popular Culture
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In the aftermath of the Falklands War, the role of newspapers in imperialism needs re-examination. Douglas Lorimer, in his analysis of racialism in mid-Victorian Britain, wrote that 'the press, indulging in senationalism to arouse readers' interest, gives us an exaggerated, distorted view of racial attitudes'. And, at the opposite pole, there is the recent assertion by H. John Field, that the Daily Mail and G.W. Steevens in particular, 'co-opted the Masses' to imperialism. As the story of Peter Lobengula demonstrates, newspapers can give us a uniquely vivid sense of the texture of popular imperialism. Peter Lobengula's experiences among the white working-class of Salford can only be extrapolated from other contemporary accounts, notably Britons Through Negro Spectacles by the West African A. B. C. Merriman Labor.


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