The latest example: Rome
, which I wasn't able to see when it first aired, but did catch up with over spring break. As is to be expected from an HBO series, it's quite good; I'm definitely looking forward to the DVD release of season two.
The cultural anxiety that led to the creation of this show is almost palpable: it's the '00s here in George Bush's America and we're worried about the fall of the Republic, we're worried about Empire. And we should be worried, because republics fall, that's what they do—and in our case it isn't even a Pompey or a Caesar or an Octavian or even a Titus Pullo that threatens us, only Cheney, Rove, and a whole host of "loyal Bushies." That they were winning so handily for so long, and are only just now beginning to be beaten back, and it isn't over yet
: rarely has the subtext for a work of art been so inescapable or obvious."If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator," Bush joked.