Thank god Mel Brooks is still alive.
Somewhere around the border between the 80s and the 90s, Hakim Bey wrote this. I wasn't watching enough grownup TV in the 80s to be able to say much about agreeing or disagreeing with it, but it's nevertheless an essay I've been familiar with for a little while, and I think it's a worthwhile piece. I do agree that what we choose to entertain us says more than we usually acknowledge about who we are and how we encounter the world.
So it's probably worth noticing when three of the five Golden Globe nominees in the category of Best Actor - TV Drama are nominated for their roles as doctors. In the 80s, it seems, we were fascinated by cops. Now, it's doctors that hold our attention.
Like police, doctors occupy one side of a continual battle between good and evil, and like police, doctors do battle on our behalf: the patients, the victims, the helpless. Perhaps even more than cop shows, doctor shows lead us to understand ourselves as furniture rather than participants, as the battlefield on which the drama gets played out.
The striking difference between doctors and cops, then, isn't in who they are or what they fight for, but in what they fight against. Criminals are visible; pathogens aren't. Criminals have human motives, childhoods, and stories; pathogens don't.
I'm kind of boring myself here, it turns out. Any thoughts? Maybe we can rescue this train of thought together.