“I’m a card carrying republican.”

It wasn’t a newsflash, J has been saying since right around the birth of his second child fiveish years ago “if you aren’t a democratic in your 20s you are soulless and if you aren’t a republican in your 30s you’re an idiot”. Since neither of us are on a mission of conversion and since we both respect the intellect of the other, our difference of opinions makes for interesting conversation.

Today’s conversation was all over the place. it began tentatively- a bit about the kids and a lazy Sunday afternoon. And when i asked him to tell me something good or interesting he launched into a conversation about politics and power on a local level (named strengths and weaknesses of established and newly emerging parties).  Somehow, after my own diatribe on tea party republicans, power, and social issues (which he countered with the reality that an emerging strip of republicans could give a rat’s booty about social issues – including funding them…something i’ve read myself), we meandered onto the topic of Scandal.

“what is it about that show?” he asked, exasperated. “how is it any different than the Real Housewives of Atlanta?”

Having never seen the Real Housewives i couldn’t answer with specifics but shared why i like the show. I love the character depth. In so many shows people are “inherently” good or evil. We love the broad stroke archetypes- at least for our main characters. It is a newish phenomenon to have epically flawed heroes to cheer for or to hate. Think Dexter and Game of Thrones.

The flaws make it humanly engaging for me while the setting – often the oval office of the white house- makes it far away enough to be escapism.

But mostly, it is entertaining.

“i find it hypocritical,” J said before he had to hang up. “all my female friends, bourgeois and educated, who hate the real housewives and petition for it to be off the air, love this show. Yeah kerri washington is strong and in charge but she is having an affair with the president, how is it any different behavior from those other shows?”

I wish he hadn’t had to go. His question gave me pause. Where is the line between art and politics? Art is often political but does that mean you can’t enjoy a piece – be it a painting or a play- that doesn’t support your politics?

It has been years since i read Power of One but i remember thinking how wonderfully written it was. How pulled along in the current of images the words produced in my head. It is a beautifu piece of fiction. It also perpetuates the great white savior of Africa narrative that drives me insane. So i appreciate it on one level while being irritated on another.

At work i found myself in a casual conversation with a colleague about the Hunger Games. I enjoyed the series, wasn’t upset but wasn’t impressed by the movie. She was disturbed by the “dangerous messages it is sending girls”. I had to stop her. I hadn’t deconstructed it in that particular way. She explained her point (SPOILER), Catniss ends up with a man who tries to kill her. (END OF SPOILER).

It is true. What does that say to a generation of girls navigating the complex world of dating? If s/he hurts you but repents then it is ok.

It comes up all over the place. a lover of joss whedon for years, he has often been applauded as a feminist for his portrayal of strong women characters. But a blog post took a closer look at what we deem feminist and the nuances we sometimes miss because the protagonist is a butt-kicking superhero who can walk alone and night and save her date from harm.

J’s question about hypocrisy stands. Is it hypocritical to love Scandal even as i despise the glorification of infidelity? Is it ok to love Firefly even as one of the central love stories involves a man repeatedly calling the woman he loves a whore?

If held up to such a critical lens of race, gender, ableist, moral, politics, is anything on tv beyond reproach?

I don’t believe in banning books and i don’t wish to dictate what people are allowed to watch on their down time from work. Reality tv doesn’t move me but the fast-paced and intelligent dialogue of Scandal does. Does that make me a hypocrite? Maybe. But then i, like Olivia Pope, contain multitudes

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