• $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • other
  • use Paypal

CALLING ALL COUNTERPUNCHERS! CounterPunch’s website is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. We are supported almost entirely by the subscribers to the print edition of our magazine and by one-out-of-every-1000 readers of the site. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners to the “new” Cuba. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads or click bait. Unlike many other indy media sites, we don’t shake you down for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it. So over the next few weeks we are requesting your financial support. Keep CounterPunch free, fierce and independent by donating today by credit card through our secure online server, via PayPal or by calling 1(800) 840-3683.


We Live in the Age of Superlatives


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

October 12, 2015
Ralph Nader
Imperial Failure: Lessons From Afghanistan and Iraq
Ishmael Reed
Want a Renewal? Rid Your City of Blacks
Thomas S. Harrington
US Caught Faking It in Syria
Victor Grossman
Scenes From a Wonderful Parade Against the TPP
Luciana Bohne
Where Are You When We Need You, Jean-Paul Sartre?
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz
Paul Craig Roberts
A Decisive Shift in the Balance of Power
Justus Links
Turkey’s Tiananmen in Context
Ray McGovern
Faux Neutrality: How CNN Shapes Political Debate
William Manson
Things R Us: How Venture Capitalists Feed the Fetishism of Technology
Norman Pollack
The “Apologies”: A Note On Usage
Steve Horn
Cops Called on Reporter Who Asked About Climate at Oil & Gas Convention
Javan Briggs
The Browning of California: the Water is Ours!
Dave Randle
The BBC and the Licence Fee
Andrew Stewart
Elvis Has Left the Building: a Reply to Slavoj Žižek
Nicolás Cabrera
Resisting Columbus: the Movement to Change October 12th Holiday is Rooted in History
Weekend Edition
October 9-11, 2015
David Price – Roberto J. González
The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System’s Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan
Mike Whitney
Putin’s “Endgame” in Syria
Jason Hribal
The Tilikum Effect and the Downfall of SeaWorld
Gary Leupp
The Six Most Disastrous Interventions of the 21st Century
Andrew Levine
In Syria, Obama is Playing a Losing Game
Louis Proyect
The End of Academic Freedom in America: the Case of Steven Salaita
Rob Urie
Democrats, Neoliberalism and the TPP
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
The Bully Recalibrates: U.S. Signals Policy Shift in Syria
Brian Cloughley
Hospital Slaughter and the US/NATO Propaganda Machine
Paul Street
Hope in Abandonment: Cuba, Detroit, and Earth-Scientific Socialism
John Walsh
For Vietnam: Artemisinin From China, Agent Orange From America
Hadi Kobaysi
How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists
John Wight
No Moral High Ground for the West on Syria
Robert Fantina
Canadian Universities vs. Israeli Apartheid
Conn Hallinan
Portugal: Europe’s Left Batting 1000
John Feffer
Mouths Wide Shut: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers
Paul Craig Roberts
The Impulsiveness of US Power
Ron Jacobs
The Murderer as American Hero
Alex Nunns
“A Movement Looking for a Home”: the Meaning of Jeremy Corbyn
Andre Vltchek
Stop Millions of Western Immigrants!
Philippe Marlière
Class Struggle at Air France
Halima Hatimy
#BlackLivesMatter: Black Liberation or Black Liberal Distraction?
Binoy Kampmark
Waiting in Vain for Moderation: Syria, Russia and Washington’s Problem
Paul Edwards
Empire of Disaster
Xanthe Hall
Nuclear Madness: NATO’s WMD ‘Sharing’ Must End
Margaret Knapke
These Salvadoran Women Went to Prison for Suffering Miscarriages
Uri Avnery
Abbas: the Leader Without Glory
Michael Brenner
Kissinger Revisited
Cesar Chelala
The Perverse Rise of Killer Robots