The interplay between the so called real world and the world of TV is a strange place. If you want a  realistic appraisal of what the United States is actually like, you could do a lot worse than to watch its leading TV series. In this I specifically include The Wire, The Sopranos, House of Cards, Sons of Anarchy and Homeland. Add to these some excellent documentaries like 13th

and you will get an immediate snapshot of the violence, endemic racism and institutional corruption that underpins nearly all of American society. Strip aside some of the more lurid and fanciful scripts and you have the USA in a nutshell. A thoroughly nasty piece of work.

Nothing highlighted this better than the final episode of Homeland (Series 6). If you are one of the few people living outside of the United States that still lives within the illusion that the US is the ‘land of the free and the brave’ and a well-regulated democracy, then this series and in particular, this final episode, should once and for all disabuse you of this falsehood. But the strange thing is this; that there are still, despite these amazingly revealing television dramas, countless millions of US citizens that cling to the childish notion of their country being a law governed democracy. Fools.

There was so much to ponder and enjoy in this latest Homeland series. All six series have been provocative and insightful but I think this last series had something about it that got to the very essence of the beast. For those of you that have yet to see it, I need only say that there was a carefully orchestrated coup attempt against an incoming, freshly elected President who we are led to believe had some vague notions of democracy and human decency. But it was the nature of the coup attempt that was so revealing. Unlike the earlier assassinations of the Kennedy’s, this assassination attempt was carefully orchestrated using fake social media on an industrial scale. And no surprises as to who financed the operation. The dialogue and action was taut throughout but the clinching line came from one of the senior CIA chiefs (Saul) who calmly told the Madam President Elect; ‘we’ve been carrying out coups like this around the world for decades and it nearly ends badly for the democratically elected government.’

And guess what? Whilst we were all sitting comfortable in our homes being entertained by US TV, good old Uncle Sam was up to its usual dirty tricks in South America – this time orchestrating a coup against the democratically elected socialist government in Venezuela. Straight out assassinations are no longer enough. These days you must create a sense of mass indignation against the ruling government. Demonstrations must be organised, opposition parties funded, hostile social media campaigns need to be activated and above all, a state of economic and social chaos must be fermented. Who better to kick-start this dirty work than the local CIA desk. To see this dirty-tricks operation play itself out on the streets of America on TV was truly fascinating.

In real time and in the real world, Fox News and the other US reactionary media outlets have been fermenting this type of counter-revolution in the US for decades. They euphemistically call it the ‘culture wars’ but in fact they has been laying the ground for the election of a right wing, white supremacist demagogue. And hey presto- along comes President Trump. Anyone who dares to challenge Trump’s pronouncements and policies is deemed the purveyor of fake news and a part of the corrupt establishment. Creating this climate of intimidation and fear is chilling but ingenious. And of course, the old entrenched establishment is corrupt and self-serving so one hesitates to stand up against the new incumbent for fear of being seen to be supporting the corrupt old guard. Cynicism is the order of the day. Everything feels like fake news. In the end a sense of lethargy and inertia starts to grip the country.

With events moving so quickly in the US and around the globe, it is difficult for TV script writers to stay abreast. I suspect the forthcoming series of House of Cards could already be out of date. Who in their right mind could have predicted a Trump presidency with some of his closest advisors being straight out of the KKK. Who could have predicted that an American president would be openly courting the likes of Maine Le Pen. But to its credit, the Homeland script writers have consistently got it spot on. Terror begets terror and in the end, as Malcolm X so prophetically announced; ‘The chickens come home to roost’.

End JPK Copyright, 21/4/17

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