So only have a moment this morning to comment on last night’s TV.

Hannah on Girls has CHANGED, although it remains to be seen whether it’s change we can believe in. She’s no longer the victim ready to have sex with anyone who’s ready to exploit her. She thinks of herself as through caring for others (which, of course, she never really did). She has contempt for the guy who used to exploit her because he’s bedridden with injuries (that were her fault, actually) and is now needy both physically and emotionally. He says he loves her in a whiny way etc. and she almost runs out of his apartment. She’s sleeping around with confidence and is at least fake-cheerful. And she refuses to allow her new main guy to even use “love” in a sentence when speaking of her. He’s all about The Fountainhead (despite? being black), and in the last scene she only semi-jokes about borrowing the Rand book (and outlook). It actually wasn’t such a good show, but I like the quick move from one anti-relational excess to the other. A nice idea for subversive commentary on the creeping and creepy libertarianism of our time.

Out-of-time, so, quickly: At this point Downton Abbey is the perfect anti-Girls, and so on Sunday night you can experience the thrill of the quick move from aristocratic class to Randian trash(talk, at least).

At Downton Abbey, everyone knows so well his or her relational responsibilities—his or her place—as a member of a class. When there’s a lapse in doing what one should, the men, especially, feel really guilty and reliably end up eventually doing the right thing by others—both those whom one loves and those whom one either serves or commands. There’s a downside—a subtext—to the somewhat meleodramatic goings on at the Abbey, but more on that later.

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Articles by Peter Lawler

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