Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

We Live in the Age of Superlatives

by

There was a time, two or three decades ago, when people could sit down and watch a TV show—watch it, enjoy it, appreciate it, perhaps even contemplate parts of it the next day—without resorting to superlatives like “It’s the best show on TV!!” or “It’s the greatest TV show there ever was!!” Why superlatives? Why can’t we simply be entertained and leave it that?

Which brings us to Game of Thrones, the HBO fantasy series that’s causing otherwise reasonable people to go around saying preposterous things, like Thrones is the greatest show in the history of television. People, please. As Archie Bunker would say to Edith, you need to “stifle it.”

Full disclosure: I watch Thrones. I’ve seen every episode. I enjoy the show. I love Tyrion, I hate Cersei, I identify with Brienne of Tarth. Indeed, I owe HBO a debt of gratitude for providing me with an enjoyable hour on Sunday night, and like the Lannisters, I always pay my debts. Thank you, HBO, ye have done well. Game of Thrones more or less makes up for Veep and Carnivale.

But the best show in the history of television? Impossible. First of all, how can something be the “best show in the history of television” when 80-percent of it is lurid sex and violence? That’s like saying Hustler magazine is better than the New Yorker. Not to come off as prudish, but let’s be honest here. This show is all about sexual intercourse and murder, done in armor.

Granted, one could say the same about HBO’s earlier series, Rome, but at least that series had actual historical underpinnings, as there was, in fact, such a thing as the Roman Empire. Yes, you had copious amounts of intercourse, nudity, and bloodshed in Rome, but you also had Julius Caesar, Marc Antony and the Roman Senate.

But Thrones has no such historical antecedents. It’s the depiction of non-stop murder and sexual hi-jinx set against a totally fictional backdrop. The night may be dark and full of terrors, but those who insist that Game of Thrones is better than, say, the West Wing or the Larry Sanders Show may be full of crap.

One sees the same sort of gushing and hyper-ventilation aimed at The Walking Dead, AMC’s mega-hit zombie series. It’s a fun show. I liked it. I saw the first three seasons before realizing it wasn’t based on fact. Again, why can’t we simply “like” a television show—enjoy it, appreciate it, goof on it—without feeling compelled to coronate it?

People are so enthralled with the Walking Dead, the network has produced an accompanying spin-off called Talking Dead, where grown-up people sit on a sofa and talk about what they have just seen. It’s a televised chat-room. And they talk about this zombie caper with such solemnity and reverence, you’d think they were discussing Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason.

Again, I’m a fan of Thrones. There is no way I’m going to miss an episode. Was I thrilled when Joffrey died? Of course. Am I rooting for Khaleesi to succeed? Of course. Do I think we haven’t seen the last of Shae? It’s hard to say. But before I’d call Game of Thrones the best show, I’d join those other fellas in calling myself the King of the North.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor,” 2nd edition), is a former union rep.  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]