"House of Cards" is not realistic and hardly cutting edge. The show presents a reality so watered-down as to be naïve beyond belief. Look at who is telling the story. Not the news media. There is no responsible journalism left in the world. Every major and minor news media (and medium) has been fully captured and owned by corporations whose idea of presenting the news amounts to reporting on the lives of celebrities, the latest hair cut by Pippa "the bum" Middleton, and pictures of puppy dogs and kitty cats.
Well said especially your last paragraph!!
to kelley commenting about palin being stupid. do you have the guts and the smarts to truck up to alaska, share your views with palin, her family, friends, and alaskan citizens? oh, and if you decide to go, bring a copy of your curriculum vitae and resume with you for discussion and comparison. remember, kelly, snl is a comedy show based on a script, not the truth. good luck running for mayor of your city and govenor of your state.
the time is coming when it will again be uncool to be a liberal. the fraternity will be kicked off the campus for all its dispicable beliefs and behaviors which have soiled the reputations of all the folks on campus. the intelligensia and school newspaper will turn on the fratboys. no one will be able to save them. once the frat is deemed to be uncool, no one will pledge. until then, my friends, suffer and persevere.
As I remarked in my own two reviews of the second season of "House of Cards," it is paradoxical that Kevin Spacey, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, star, and executive producer of this and the first season, puts his imprimatur on a series in which all the villains and dupes are Democrats, a sprinkling of manipulated fools who are Republicans. I cannot see that Spacey is doing the Democrats any favors by demonizing them in the worst possible way. Perhaps it's a matter of hubris; no matter how black he paints the Democrats, they are invincible, and will always retain murderous and Machiavellian power. Then there are the liberals caricatured in the persons of Underwood's wife, Claire (a distaff Bill Gates), and the pliable and doomed Peter Russo. Zoe Barnes, as a reporter is a status-seeking whore, and a liberal, as well, and sort of deserved to be thrown under the train. A new character, Jackie Sharpe, played by Molly Parker, is a glassy-eyed House majority whip and also a whore. The handful of Republican characters who appear are nearly non-entities; they're RINOs. But, "House of Cards" is superbly done and I have been recommending it to anyone who wants to see a dramatization of power politics in Washington.
My reviews can be read at: http://ruleofreason.blogspot.com/2014/02/house-of-cards-tale-of-pain-worshipping.html
In all modesty, I believe my reviews are a tad more insightful than Mr. Klavan's.
Fundamentally, House of Cards is not so much about the corruption that government breeds, whether it knows it or not it is about the corruptive nature of the individual. Man by nature seeks to dominate other men for their own individual benefit. In American free enterprise, this results in win-win relationships where "the deal" benefits everyone from employees to the CEO's that cut the deal. In American government, this results in ignoring the constitution, boundless bureaucracies and Presidential rule by fiat as an entire political party seeks to dominate citizens.
Andrew Klavan is delightful to read.
What a gift.
What is the saying regarding the 'blind squirrel'?
"....They even went so far as to portray Republicans running from a vote."
The left does love to project, doesn't it.
Klavan may be too angry and frustrated to watch TV as TV.
Loved your crescendo final paragraph.
And the pleasure of recollecting the old team: F.U., Stamper, Maddy, Sir Roger O'Neal, Cawdor, and Mrs. Urquhart... Time to view it once again!
Tyrants are knuckleheads with POWER. That makes your "knuckleheads" TYRANTS...what a silly statement dismissing such dangerous people as simply knuckleheads...
I think we should send Jack Reacher after Frank & Claire Underwood for justice sake.
@ Luke "What drivel. Biden, for all his gaffes, has never been parodied on SNL by Sudekis quoting him verbatim." And why do you think that is? Think hard - I know it hurts. Maybe you should try reading the piece again, for a clue.
Best line from the first season goes to the teachers' union representative, who said "our top priority is to reduce private funding in education".
I disagree with this.
Season One was ambiguous. They wore the label Dems but there weren't too many partisan cheap shots.
Now that HOC has become notable, into Season 2 seeps the Liberal angle. This audience must not be left unmolested, there's great opportunity for indoctrination.
I believe episode 3 really hits the ground running. Yes, heard the Tea Party derogation and thought, oh that's odd.
But the entire episode is fantasy based- beyond the killings. The Dems are passing entitlement reform??? But the Tea Party is blocking them?? In what UNIVERSE??? They even went so far as to portray Republicans running from a vote. Where now in reality did we see this tactic? Oh that's right, it was Wisconsin where DEMS left the state to avoid a losing vote. Not just a whitewashing of reality, a complete reversal.
The show probably thinks a bit much of itself, showing the Dems how they need to "lead". But is that the purpose of TV? A dialogue in support of Liberals? Defamation of liberal opponents?
For anyone who watched the original British series the US
version is a pale imitation. But I can see that it would be necessary
for the US media to do what Churchill described as like a violin,
'held by the left but played by the right. A reversal can be screechingly
"It’s almost an unwritten law of Hollywood that any glancing reference to real-life politics in a film or television show must be slanted left."
Paranoid, anyone. Together with the fantasy that conservatives have learned to remain silent. In fact, good quality conservative projects are so rare that they get the Green Light almost automatically, along with the scores of pro-military projects.
("Lone Survivor" comes to mind. The plot retells sending in a Special Forces team to assassinate a so-called "warlord" as revenge for someone shooting down a helicopter. O.K., it happened. But what would have been the point of it anyway? Afghans are organized by tribe and area, so killing any one tribal leader is only going to motivate that tribal group to go after you again. Either take down the tribal group, or wait until you can. But that's too complicated a message, so we get a racist Pashtun-hating movie that encourages slaughter.)
One of my complaints about West Wing was that there was always a convenient government program to address all ills, the program always worked, and had no unintended consequences. It was just so much nonsense. Yet, the show was well done, the actors good. It was really very effective propaganda.
Great column! You are right on target
HOC is a great show, but given Kevin Spacey's political leanings, it is actually crafted to give the GOP and especially the Tea Party a black eye even though it may appear that it is the DNC (or more specifically one individual) that is ruthless in their efforts.
Andrew Klavan must be Cliff's smarter older brother.
The British version of this show was much better and more believable....aomw rhings don't translate well to a long series or weekly programl
Excellent commentary on this spellbinding series which provides a rare look into how "progressives" think and act. I know there are ruthless people in both parties but this is one series that even a TEA Party member can enjoy. However, the disturbing realization is that fiction may be much closer to fact than we thought possible in America.
Very interesting article. I really liked this series, Season One. Found the scene where the future Vice President, slinking around a subway in disguise, shoving a journalist in front of a train to be too much. In rethinking it, I can see the symbolism now. The media get in bed with power, then when they eventually find themselves staring into the mirror the next morning and want to pretend they are not whores, they power still manages to overwhelm them and out-maneuver them.
I'm about half way through season 2 of HOC. Episode by episode, Frank and Claire Underwood appear more and more to be Bill and Hillary Clinton.
No doubt Robert Straschewski's liberal inlaws(see comment below)would have been enthralled by the show if Frank Underwood had been made a Republican.
As a big fan of the BBC original, I was bored silly by HOC season one and haven't bothered with season two. However, if the show gives liberals some discomfort, I'm all for it. Carry on.
Sorry, Andrew. Palin is stupid, period. Own it.
I stated watching this show when it came out. Nothing that happened on the show surprised me, as I have a generally dim view of what washington and the people there have morphed into over the past several decades. My (liberal) in laws starting watching and were shocked. "This is absurd. Way over the top. Our elected leaders don't and would never act this way", etc. Hilarious. Or should I say "Hillaryious"?
Great article! Like the show & will read anything I see with Andrew Klavan' s name attached to it
The House of Cards is, even for those who don't want to know, about the culture of the power game and its players. That power tends to corrupt and absolute power... Always and everywhere.
The self interest of those who seek power over "The Lives of Others" and those who have power thrust upon them.
Absolute power residing in tenure, legitimate or other, in positions of power. Government or other.
Checks and balances infrequently evident in the game from those with or those desiring tenure.
Government employees without necessary reminders from their employers, that they contract to represent the requirements of ALL the citizens. And are only thus given the courtesy title Honourable.
Despite the quasi-royal privileges conferred with election or appointment to government employ remain commoners. Citizens no more no less. That's the law. That's the social contract.
What checks and balances are in play when an Executive can say without demur in "A Country of Law" that HE need not concern himself with laws, HE can always sign an Executive Order to get what he wants?
Which he did as virtual first act on taking the Chair as Executive in SEALING under Executive Order undesignated documents from the public, the citizens, the stockholders of Enterprise USA.
AND members of the Legislature and Judiciary? "To get what he wants".
Leaving interested citizens to guess the what and why of the sealing from public review. The public in whose name and trust he acts.
BUT with no curiosity from members of the Legislature and Judiciary about What documents, and Why sealed from the public.
THIS it would seem a prime reason for the duty of Checks and Balances by those Co-Equal in powers and responsibilities for the Lawful administration of the government.
But power ...
Great piece. Very enjoyable read (and I haven't even seen the show).
"though Palin owns hairbands smarter than Joe Biden"
What drivel. Biden, for all his gaffes, has never been parodied on SNL by Sudekis quoting him verbatim. He's long-winded, but could never match this kind of word saladness:
“What emboldened our enemies and what empowered our competitors was his promise to fundamentally transform America from being a solvent, free, exceptional country into something we’re not gonna recognize. Also, what has emboldened enemies is that he with doubling of our debt since he’s been elected, putting us on a path towards bankruptcy, and then locking up pipelines and resources that will result in us being more reliant on foreign imports for energy, and then of course he, having left behind, his administration having left behind our brave men in Benghazi to be murdered, and then of course there’s Syria, where he promised to bomb Syria because in that civil war, Syria was going to bomb Syria, and then we never heard another word again about his threat to bomb in a foreign civil war, and then of course, most recently, Megyn, he, uh, using our military, those who would fight against our enemies. Our military. Our vets. Shutting down their memorials. And holding them hostage in terms of budget deals. Uh, threatening to withhold paychecks for our brave men and women.”
Then you have the typical whine about left-wing media bias. Well, this is a media outlet and it's not. Neither is the dominant "news" channel, talk radio or half the newspapers in this country on life support as vanity projects for billionaires.
The writers had to make Underwood a Democrat because it needed a character who has legislative accomplishments. As for Underwood pre-conceding on entitlements and antagonizing his own party, perhaps the author was asleep for the whole "chained CPI" debate.
More whiny drivel from the right.
I didn't watch this American version of "House of Cards" because it is in the British form of Parliamentary government that one person wields so much power as prime minister and head of the party and therefore head of the legislative branch of government. And I don't believe anyone could match Ian Richardson's performance as Francis Urkhardt, (yes, the initials F.U.), a modern Richard III. I don't believe there is an American equivalent. In our time, the government is not headed by such a person in America. Instead, we have an executive who executes the laws, or as we see, not execute the laws as he sees fit, a compliant Congress that lets him do this, a Congress that cedes the legislative power to the administrative state, a compliant media, culture and academia, and the compliance of the two major political parties. There already is an extant movie to represent what is going on in America today, and that is the brilliant Paddy Chayefsky movie "Network". The movie shows the characters in pursuit of ratings, ultimately publicly executing a man for delivering low ratings. The story line just has to be tweaked a bit to pursuing government policy; de-industrializing of the country, creating a more dependent non-working populace, government centered rules regarding food, clothing, shelter, education, health care,the reduction of private property, the depopulation of the country, pushing citizens to live more and more in central cities in government provided houses the size of jail cells, and a compliant media and culture propagating how great this all is, calling it freedom, as a power hungry cabal moves the country toward global governance. Sounds entertaining no?
Dear Mr Klavan;
Please stop writing.
Everytime I think of a clever way to expose the folly and foolishness of politicians, I find you have already sanded, stained, varnished, waxed and buffed the floor and all I can do is stand there and say; "Just look at that shine."
Fred Siegel has a new book out, "The Revolt Against the Masses" that addresses this very problem. Elitists cannot express their elitism by repeating the same old things, such as the Constitution of the United States of America has produced the greatest nation on earth. In order to say something different and look smart, elitists take a leftward slant on everything. But the Left has an uninterrupted record of destruction and death. To cover the discrepancy, the Left lies about how bad the USA is and how good the noble Marxists are.
Siegel's book tells what happens when the elitists are in charge. My take is that the Left is driven by mental disorders and displays the attributes of clinical psychopaths: irresponsibility, pathological lying, parasitic lifestyle, grandiose sense of self-worth, etc. Dr. Robert Hare has written extensively on psychopaths.
Now we have a Marxist psychopath in the White House and he is as inefficient, incompetent, and corrupt as the Soviet Union.
Brilliant. I love this Klavan guy and am an avid reader of whatever he posts. He almost always sees more, and more deeply, into the very same programming I watch as well. I rejoiced as well, seeing the Bush/scanner reference, but completely missed its significance. Way to go Klavan.
Excellent piece, Andrew. I can't wait to watch "House of Cards."
Spot on! Immensely enjoyed the read. Agree with the analysis and loved the writing style.
Great piece on a great show.
I've never watched the show, yet I was still taken by surprise to read this great article about "House of Cards") on it, and learn more than I already knew about the overwhelming bias of the left (esp. in Hollywood).
I always read the articles in City Journal,
and always find them to be incredibly objective, entertaining and enlightening, therefore, truly inspiring and pleasing to
my Objectivist mind.
Thanks again for this wonder-filled journal
of ideas which I've been reading for several years. A great outreach with an inspiring
vision, and, I lelieve, supremely effective
and on target.
Robert Charles Van Orden
I've never watched the show (I don't have TV),
yet, I was still taken by surprise to read this great article on it, and learn more than I already knew about the overwhelming bias of
the left (esp. in Hollywood).
I always read the articles by City Journal,
and always find them to be incredibly objective, and therefore truly inspiring and
pleasing to my objectist mind.
Thanks again for this wonder-filled journal of
ideas which I've been reading for several years. A great journal with an inspiring
Robert Charles Van Orden
Spot on Andrew! Unfortunately the Left sees "Congressman Francis" and his Lady Macbeth wife as evil geniuses who get what they want and are to be admired for their audacity.
There is one thing that dominates even the leftward cant in Hollywood, and that's money! So, Clint can get away with his "empty chair" stick in the eye because he is successful and brings employment (money) to the biz. Still, Hollywood endlessly drops snarky anti-conservative commentary into films where it is totally unrelated to scenes. Someone should do a content analysis of Hollywood films and the word Nixon.
"... hairbands smarter than Joe Biden . . ." This is great, this is funny, Andrew Klavan for Vice-President, yay!
There's a lot of memorable wisdom in this part of what Klavan wrote:
"[T]he central flaw of leftism is not its ceaseless cynicism about business, individualism, religion, or the common man—it’s that its cynicism evaporates into unicorn-and-rainbow stupidity when it comes to government."