Kings of America

From a review of NBC’s Kings by Heather Havrilesky at Salon:

During hard times, we hunger for the reassurances of fate. We long for some divine force to guide us through a cruel, unpredictable world, to indicate, through some glorious and elegant spectacle, that we’ll make it through the storm.

Here in America, for all of our democratic ideals, we’re more than happy to treat our leader like royalty, so long as he has the stature and dignity to deserve our adoration. Because, just as a bumbling frat boy who stumbles on his words and blithely drops bombs on nonbelievers can make the entire world look like a hardened, messy, incomprehensible hell, a graceful, eloquent man seems to magically transform our planet into a shiny, hopeful place populated by humble, pure-hearted people who have the courage to believe that they’ll make it through the darkness. Even the atheists among us relish the sense that some eternal, celestial force has finally descended, to cure our blindness and set us free.

We’re fragile children, after all, and we’d prefer to believe that there’s a benevolent and wise parent somewhere who loves us unconditionally. Even if our actual parents sipped gin and tonics and mumbled halfheartedly in our direction as Walter Cronkite confirmed their worst suspicions about the world, we still can’t quite let go of our deep desire to be soothed and led, like docile lambs. Grown up and burdened by a million and one responsibilities, we still yearn to be told stories and fed and tucked into bed, assured that the path ahead is clear and simple, flat and smooth, set forth by a mystical power who reigns over every living thing.

Read the rest here

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