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Wednesday, February 19 - 6:56pmSanction this postReply
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There has been a trend in the media of calling the U.S. House of Cards "anti-political," "anti-Washington" or even "anti-government." While the series is ostensibly about the corruption of national politics for personal ends, I had a very different take on it. Rather than being the "dark" treatment on the nation's capital that reviewers have portrayed, House of Cards serves to fetishize the power and prestige of elected office. The on-camera politicos and lobbyists are all physically beautiful, intelligent people who live interesting, magnetic lives. They are the gods among men, and they alone hold the power to remake the world in their image for the betterment or detriment of the little people around them. It came as no surprise to me whatsoever that Obama is a fan of the series, as are other high-level DC politicians. It seems to have a following of progressive political-types in particular. If the show were really an indictment of the federal government, as we are being told it is, then why would the federal government's biggest advocates be such fans of the series?



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Wednesday, February 19 - 8:15pmSanction this postReply
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Have not seen it!  I am still waiting for Game of Thrones in April!!



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Wednesday, February 19 - 10:31pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Robert, 

 

Welcome.

 

I agree with you.  It is about corruption, but I see the thrust as to seduce the viewers into rooting for the bad guys, and to the extent that you can find even one principled person portrayed, that character will end up being one of the losers.  The show screams that this is reality, and don't expect anything else.  Yet, it isn't voiced as a complaint.  The writers want us to embrace the ugly power grabbing as the given, and just choose which corrupt side to back.  It is an accurate portrayal of Washington, but a dark and biased view of human nature, and purposefully leaving out any image of people of character or principle who win, or even have a shot at winning.

 

The shows deeper theme is that there are no principles... and if someone acts as if there are, it will make them a fool who will fail and that that is the way it will always be, perhaps even should be.

 

On the technical level of writing, acting, directing and filming is extremely well done.  And it one of the really sad things about trends in our culture that some of very best writers, and the big money, go to polished production of anti-value pieces.  This is what comes of generations of anti-life, anti-heroic values being taught in the univerities... the best and brightest come out a polished purveyors of bad philosophy in the arts.



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Thursday, February 20 - 5:21amSanction this postReply
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The major difference I see between House of Cards and the Game of Thrones series is the latter doesn't exhibit corruption as a value in the same way the former does. Nobody wants to *be* Peter Baelish, while Frank Underwood is portrayed as the ubermenschean ideal of mankind who gets the girls, the power, and everything. GoT does have its successful villains and anti-heroes, but that's what gives the series its authenticity - bad guys often come out on top in the short term. Also true to reality, however, is that violence begets violence, and the Machiavellians eventually get their comeuppance, if not always within a neat and predictable timeframe.



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Thursday, February 20 - 3:22pmSanction this postReply
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Robert,

 

You wrote:

...successful villains and anti-heroes, but that's what gives the series its authenticity - bad guys often come out on top in the short term.

The purpose of art is to present in concrete form those important values that could otherwise only be held as abstractions - thus letting us have an emotional reaction to our values.  It is a kind of emotional mirror - but not to 'see' - rather to experience.  For that reason art shouldn't be a mirror image of our society or culture, but of those values that could or should be part of reality.  If it is possible for a human to behave heroically in some fashion, and if that is a value held by people, then it is a good theme for a novel or film.  

 

It is true that bad guys often come out on top in the real world, and a film or novel can show that happening, but then portray it as a tragedy, or they can portray a heroic attempt that fails, say through no fault of the hero - we see and react to our value of heroism.   So, what I'm saying is that it isn't a good ending or a sad ending or a mirror of our society that is important, but rather what are the values that are portrayed.

 

There are some finely produced works of art whose values I disagree with.  I often find myself caught up in the novel or film, and enjoying the quality of the production... and sad afterwards that the artists didn't have values closer to mine.  (Other times, if it starts feeling like propoganda, the emotion I feel is more likely to be anger or disgust).  And there are works of art that are very poorly produced, but have great values... kind of the same thing in that my enjoyment is less than what it would have been. And most novels and films are a mixture.



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