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February 21, 2013

Unreality TV

Lexington watched all 13 episodes of the new House of Cards and says it is "at heart a palace intrigue, unfolding within the Beltway bubble. Politicians are raised up by decisions taken in the White House or the high-ceilinged rooms of congressional leaders. They are cast down by plots and ill-judged broadcast interviews. Whenever actual voters threaten trouble, they are soothed by the elite with improbable ease..."

"In the real world, federal funding is a fast-dwindling resource, and populist pandering a bigger drag on problem-solving than any individual villainy. Richard III is altogether the wrong model for a modern political tragedy: better to try Shakespeare's Coriolanus and the Roman mob. For it is not the dagger in the back that haunts today's ruling classes, but the pitchfork in the front, brandished by voters. By skirting that truth, House of Cards, for all its dramatic tension and clever dialogue, amounts to a kind of Washingtonian escapism."

Several readers tell me the original U.K. House of Cards Trilogy is better.


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