I watch too much TV, and have all my life. Or maybe not too much. Sometimes I think everybody else watchs too little, reality shows excepted. Three shows I watched this week made me a little bit wiser…
“The Clinton Affair”
What this new, and generally excellent review of the Monica Lewinsky mess teaches us is that the Republicans were looking for ways to justify getting rid of Clinton, though less intensely and openly as today’s Democrats have hunted Donald Trump. The main differences: the news media, which was mostly supportive of Clinton throughout, with a few notable exception, like Chris Matthews; and, as Jonathan Turley correctly stated in his testimony, Clinton unequivocally committed crimes, not just by lying in court in the Paula Jones hearing, but by lying under oath in a deposition in which he swore under oath, that he could not recall ever being “alone” with Monica.
Monica is prominent in the documentary (boy, she is beautiful) and is allowed to appeal to the sympathies of the viewer. Indeed, she was vilified excessively: clips of a younger but no less smug and revolting Bill Maher arguing, with many guests in agreement, that she, not Bill, was the real villain. This was nauseating then, and nauseating still. At the same time, there are limits to how much sympathy one can direct toward Lewinsky, who made a choice that was both unethical and stupid. How could she imagine such a situation would ever turn out anything but disastrously? She keeps telling us how humiliated she was, as if she didn’t deserve to be humiliated.
I watched this seven part HBO series for the first time since it premiered. I’d love to know how many public school students are shown the series in class, or at all. It is an superb civics lesson, despite some historical liberties. Come to think or it, I wonder if any of the “Squad” has seen it; or any of the Parkland anti-gun shills, or, for that matter, President Trump. The series vividly shows what a miracle the creation of the United States was, the ethical values that formed its philosophical foundation, and the brilliance of the Founders that by the sheerest moral luck, the infant nation, happened to be in the right place at the right time, over and over again.
Now, 240 years later, lesser patriots with inferior minds think it is wise to undo their unique and fortunate creation.
“Once Upon A Time in Hollywood”
In his “Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino gave us an immensely satisfying alternate history in which Adolph Hitler and his henchmen met a horrible end with the assistance of a Jewish special ops squad. Now, in “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, he does the same [SPOILER ALERT] to the Manson Family members who slaughtered Sharon Tate, her unborn child, and the other human beings at Roman Polanski’s Beverley Hills mansion.
It would be difficult to kill anyone on screen any more cruelly or violently than the deaths Tarantino devises for the Family members. Yet it is all immensely satisfying. I felt no pity or horror, just an overwhelming feeling of wonder at being so entertained by bloodsport.
I didn’t even feel guilty about it.