Irony or Naiveté?

March 18, 2008 at 11:02 pm (Popular Culture, The War on Terror)

jerichoflag.jpgOK, I don’t know if the producers of CBS’s Jericho are masters of irony or just really naive, but this show is so timely it’s freaky (see this post to get caught up).

In season two, after the crippling nuclear attacks on the U.S., towns like Jericho, Kansas are slowly being rebuilt. The way this reconstruction is occurring, however, is by means of a government-authorized private firm called Jennings and Rall, whose tasks include everything from hiring private security (a company called Ravenwood), to issuing new currency, and writing new U.S. history textbooks that are largely revisionist.

If you’ve read Klein’s Shock Doctrine (or if you know anything about what’s going on in Iraq), you will notice some eerie similarities here. By our government-sanctioned contractors’ own admission, we are not in Iraq to rebuild a nation but to create one. A contract was even issued to print new Iraqi school textbooks here in the U.S. Once a people has been sufficiently shocked (so the theory goes), they will be reduced to such an infantile slate that a new story can be written upon that blank slate.

I just wonder if the fans of this show realize that the despicable tactics they repudiate when done to the victims in Jericho are being carried out by our government elsewhere. “Jennings and Rall,” for all you metaphorically-challenged, is code for “Halliburton,” and “Ravenwood” really means “Blackwater.”

And in Iraq, it’s not fictional but very real.



  1. Julay said,

    I would bet the writers of Jericho are fully aware of the analogies. Often times I think writers, who are neither masters of rhetoric nor have proclivities for punditry, can make a point through the imagination and through story telling. It would seem to me that’s what’s going on here, and that’s the beautify and necessity of literature and story telling in a society. It can create new possibilities for action and it can also confront us with out own hypocrisies.

  2. The Pundit said,

    I agree, Julay.

    This is why I wish artists with some sway would use the media of film or (especially) TV to help us visualize what a libertarian socialist vision would look like. For example, create a drama in some parallel universe where the building blocks of the society are less market-driven. Then, by all means, tell some story. But the backdrop could be making a subtle political statement, i.e., it doesn’t have to be like what we now see all around us.

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