Monday, December 28, 2015

Quote of the Day (James Wolcott, on TV as the New Religious Devotion)

“Post-Sopranos, television has brainwormed into something richer and deeper than an entertainment spectrum, a babysitter for our brains, a night nurse for insomniacs, a humming narcotic. Addiction has heightened into devotion, and devotion carries the ache of religious hunger. God may not be dead, but He’s been seriously demoted, and in His eclipse the flat screen summons forth. People identify with some of their TV passions as if choosing a denomination, a scripture to follow. Church on Sunday morning was how it was done in the idealized America of Norman Rockwell paintings and white picket fences. Television on Sunday evening is how we do it in the holed-up America of Instagram selfies and padlocked foreclosures. The gnostic battle of damnation and salvation is rigged out on TV in genre formats (the police procedural, the gangster saga) where even the saints and dharma bums have serious blood on their hands. Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle propped up in his hospital bed in the season finale of True Detective (HBO) couldn’t have looked more Christ-haggard.” —James Wolcott, “Hollywood And Divine,” Vanity Fair, June 2014

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