Last night’s TWD season opener was brutal,

but that’s not what I want to write about. Accepting a work on its own terms, at some level,  has always been fundamental to my enjoyment of print and screen (Theater, for me, is a different animal, precisely because I’ve never been able to forget that the people on stage are acting). Criticism that doesn’t surrender some territory to the vision of the artist of author is seems self-indulgent. My English major was littered with the wrappings of Marxist Theorists who damned the author or the text or both. And the text never got a fair shake; the story was never permitted to be just that – a story. The Deconstructionists would drive a work right off a cliff if given the car keys.  Likewise, morning after, or in some cases, minutes after, postmortems, literally, and critiques throwing out terms like gimmickry are delusional about who is in control of a show about a world completely out of control. This isn’t Saturday Night Live, where the decision whether to drop Ernie the lobster into the pot depends on tabulations of 800 number votes. Let storytellers tell the story the way they want to. Accept it or don’t, but don’t tell them what to do or how to do it.

In a mean season

Social media reinforces the tyranny of hyperbole-by candidates and people who “follow” them-and outrage is a predictable result. Whether these extreme voices actual reflect the true views of our fellow citizens remains to be seen. It’s a disturbing notion, but I am not surprised nor terrified. I’ve never had faith in large numbers of people nor in the individuals who use them. My understand of history, that elusive narrative of what happened and why, prepares me for the worst. The American fallacy is that we thought we had broken the bounds of that process. Fortunately, we have a blueprint which for all its faults acknowledges the inevitability of people acting badly. I embrace our Constitution; we are built on a solid but adaptive foundation. Don’t despair.