David Mamet (author of The Verdict and Glengarry Glen Ross, among other fine things) writes this in his new book Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose, and Practice of the Movie Business (a great book just loaded with great snark:
As we enter the cinema, we relax our guard. We do so necessarily, because to resist, to insist on reality in the drama, is to rob ourselves of joy.
For who would sit through he cartoon thinking constantly, “Wait a second, elephants can’t fly!”
Politicians (notably the right, in both America and Britain) have cannily understood this suspension of disbelief and have, since World War II, staged their political campaigns as dramas, with themes, slogans, inflammatory appeals, and villains.
The approach has put their opponents at an unfortunate disadvantage; for while the right is staging a thriller, their opponents are stuck presenting a lecture (the preferred tool of the left).
Ouch — it always leaves a mark when you get smacked so accurately.