Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Review

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Doctor Reviews a TV Show about a Doctor: A Good Example of Point of View

A review of The Knick. The reviewer concentrates on one aspect of the show.

One technique used by most demagogues is to paint a picture of simpler times in the past with a folksy world where life was easier and generations of yore exhibited tradition and virtue. Instead of offering a vision of the future, or dealing with the realities of the present, they appeal to restore the past. The problem with this is there's usually a reason why times and things change. When someone can't provide a logical argument for why we need to keep doing things the same dumb ways we've always done them, they appeal to an imagined era and values of forefathers. Demagogues finish this off by wrapping themselves in the flag (or some other authority) and position themselves as defenders of all that is good and wholesome being threatened by modernity and change.
Of course, that's all bullshit, but it can be comforting to believe a lie. And the reality is that sometimes the past wasn't as good as we remember it, and a lot of times the present is not as bad as we think it is.

Just like how Mad Men, Masters of Sex and Downton Abbey allow viewers to think about the culture of a different time period beyond the fake nostalgia, Cinemax's The Knick dissects distinctions of class, race, and sex that surround a hospital in New York City of the year 1900. Created and written by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, with each episode directed, shot and edited by Steven Soderbergh, the series depicts an era with some of the first steps of "progress" that is not quaint or idyllic, and in many ways seems horribly backwards.

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