I should probably say up front that for about 25 years the only thing I used my TV for was watching videos, which (for the most part) were taken out of my local library. The videos were either movies/documentaries, or "Great Courses" videos, etc. But, I recently found myself in a living situation where the other resident watches a great deal of TV. So, I now watch it pretty much on a daily basis (if only for an hour or two). I can't say that I regret it. I feel that I can watch and enjoy a variety of different programs with a good bit of detachment. Should my situation ever change, and I find myself once again without TV, I don't think I would miss it. I believe the notion that TV reflects one's society at large is, for the most part, an illusion. I think what it does is simply show how most Americans spend an average of 5 hours every day doing.
In any event, TV programming has certainly come one heck of a long way in a quarter century. And a particular revelation (to me) has been the series "Homeland" on Showtime. Personally, I'd say that "House of Cards" and "Homeland are the two best TV series I've ever seen, and would give "Homeland" a bit of an edge as being the very best.
I don't want to go into a detailed description here, but essentially the show is about a super-savvy, super-talented, bi-polar CIA operative named Carrie Mathison (played by Clair Danes) who travels to all kinds of exotic places getting in and out of all kinds of sticky situations, in the never-ending quest to keep America safe from (mostly) international terrorism. This, of course, doesn't sound all that novel. But the brilliance of the plotting and characterizations I think are virtually unparalleled in TV history (feel free to vehemently disagree...). I've been particularly struck by how well the writers seem to grasp all sides of the issue of "terrorism" (including the point-of-view of the terrorists themselves) and the utter fearlessness with which the producers of the show (and I guess Showtime itself) broadcast this kind of empathetic, if not entirely sympathetic, perspective on a subject, which the last time I checked, would have been banned from Day 1.
Which brings us to Season 6, which just started a few weeks ago (it airs every Sunday at 9:00 PM). In the previous season, Carrie had apparently had it with the CIA and went to work as the head of security for a non-profit agency run by a charismatic billionaire. But intrigue and high drama followed our heroine at every turn. So, this season she seems to have shed her skin once again and has become part of a pro-bono legal aid firm. As it turns out, her main client is a young Muslim fellow named Sekou, who is very concerned with how Americans have been treating other Muslims around the world, and created a web site to denounce it. While he never does anything explicitly illegal, the FBI plants an informant who not only befriends Sekou, but allows the FBI to use him to entrap Sekou. To make about 5 series episodes short: Sekou finds himself in jail facing 15 years for something he never really did. But Carrie manages to get hold of a FBI phone call to the informant, pressuring him to force Sekou into a compromising situation. Carrie then threatens to send a copy of the phone call to the Attorney General unless all charges are dropped, which the FBI lead investigator does. Carrie, for the moment, seems to have once again saved the day. But... when Sekou goes back to work the very next day, someone has placed explosives in the truck which Sekou (completely innocent of it all) drives into the city where there is a massive explosion, with people being killed (including Sekou) and many more injured.
The media covers it as a major terrorist attack, with Sekou being the obvious "terrorist". Is it just me, or does this sound an awful lot like the Boston Marathon scenario?
If this isn't enough, the program also makes quite clear that the man behind this fake terror attack is a someone named Dar Adal (played by F. Murray Abraham). Dar is a long-time, high ranking intelligence operative, who has been mostly involved in black-ops, and seriously disagrees with the incoming administration on critical foreign policy issues. Adal is mostly independent and seemingly only answerable only to the President, to whom Mr. Adal serves as a special consultant, although even the President doesn't seem to be fully aware of all that Mr. Adal has been up to (no one really knows...) during his nefarious career. In fact, as the most recent episode left us: Dar Adal has whisked the President-elect herself (they really assumed Hillary would win...) out of town (the explosion was just blocks from where she lives) into a "secure location". At this location (and only Mr. Adal seems to exactly where they are) he has managed restrict her outside communications (she can't even get a line to her Chief-of-Staff), but leaving the President-elect to genuinely assume this has all done for her security.
As outlandish and perhaps unbelievable as this all seems, the show is so cleverly constructed that it all seems quite realistic and plausible (there is now even a "Alex Jones" character periodically popping up on the radio and TV as background).
So what we have is a very popular TV show suggesting that what are widely assumed to be terrorist attacks in real life, are quite possibly false flag operations.
I don't know about you, but I find this pretty darn amazing.
(Article changed on February 22, 2017 at 17:38)
(Article changed on February 22, 2017 at 20:05)