March 14, 2016
“The gift of a good liar is making people believe you lack a talent for lying.” President Frank Underwood, House of Cards
This is a series worth watching. Season 4 has just been released.
The language of politics is the language of lying, and it’s hard to recall any other piece of modern fiction about politics that reveals this fact so forcefully and nakedly.
President Frank Underwood; his wife Claire; Will Conway, his opponent in the upcoming election; numerous other characters moving in and out of that orbit—they lie, and they lie all the time, and they especially lie when they profess humanitarian motives, when they express sympathy and caring, when they proclaim hope for a better future. The Good, in fact, is their front-and-center cover story. Whenever The Good is the subject (and when isn’t it?), they pretend to care, but they only and always pretend—because accumulating power is their only desire—and you see the double-faced charade on the screen again and again, until you accept the lying language as business as usual. As the way things are done.
The House of Cards writers are relentless about exposing how political language is used. They don’t back off. They don’t leave any loopholes.
President Frank Underwood is the chief faker.
At the end of season 4, he and his wife, Claire, have made up their minds that their potential exposure (past crimes) is too great to finesse: they must go on an all-out attack. As a grand diversion.
They will “make terror.” They will evoke terrorist high-panic in the American public, and then wage war against the terrorists. They’ll play both sides against the middle.
At last, they know what they must do, and they’re at peace with it. It’s the final answer. Up until now, they’ve only gone part of the way. That didn’t give them protection. So they’ll finish the job.
Their logic is predictable, given what politics is really all about. The only issue is: how far will they go? They have come to the conclusion: there is no limit.
The public, of course, cannot accept such an idea. The public is always fooled on that score. The public always wants to believe The Good is emanating from their own leaders. That is the public’s version of logic, and it too is predictable within a naive bubble of ultimate faith and hope.
House of Cards doesn’t bother exposing how the press aids and abets this faith. It focuses on the main players within the political establishment. In doing so, it teaches a lesson: those players can enlist sympathy, even as they commit one crime after another. Those key players have charm. They have intelligence. They have magnetic force. They are projections of “how to play the game.” They are determined not to lose. They refuse to accept the nets closing in around them. They don’t back down. They never give in to the urge to surrender. They never believe their own lies—they are, thus, much smarter than the public.
Continue Reading At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com