So I’ve gotten a good number of emails and FACEBOOK messages on my FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS post. There are some LIBERAL ones that find it offensive. I’m okay with that. There are some TV CRITICAL ONES that say I overrate the show. The teenagers on FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHT are too precious and self-reflective to be credible. One critic in particular contrasted FNL with the superior realism of the portrayal of kids on the legendary but short-lived FREAKS AND GEEKS. I’m okay with that too.

But of course I’m only going to quote from the smartest and (of course) most flattering comment:

A quick word to congratulate you on this truly beautiful piece. Your magnanimous Conservatism is surely and evidently the only path to be followed. One only has to compare it to Mansfield’s . . . WSJ op-ed on the choice b/w Europe and America to see that this American with a European wife doesn’t get it . . .

Out of ordinary piety and human gratitude I would never say in my own name that Mansfield is less that wise. But I will remind you that I’ve been saying for a while that the American vs. European and Founders vs. Progressives narratives have outlived their usefulness and descriptive power.

So the conference, at Berry, exceeded all reasonable expectations in the excellence of presentations by both faculty and students and the intensity and intelligence of the “engagement” of the students from Berry and a half dozen other colleges. I would like to thank, while I have your attention, Berry students STEPHANIE TOMYS, GARRETT COOK, and KRISTIAN CANLER for running the conference so flawlessly, if only seemingly effortlessly.

There were two very significant contributions by political scientists to POP POLITICAL/CULTURAL STUDIES.

Our Carl Scott used ROCK to illuminate THE SIXTIES as a political problem.

And Micah Watson (of Union in Jackson, TN) used THE UNDERGROUND MAN together with the psychologically penetrating recent films YOUNG ADULT and UP IN THE AIR to illuminate the phenomenon of (obsessional) AMERICAN NIHILISM.

I’m moved, in fact, to think that we need to make immediate and important strides to develop this burgeoning subfield.

So the next step would be to have a panel at the APSA Meeting next year.

I, of course, hope to talk about GIRLS, BIG LOVE, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, AND THE 2012 ELECTION.

And I’m going to ask Natalie Taylor to develop her cutting-edge thoughts on FEMINISM AND FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.

I’m now asking if there’s anyone else who wants to join up. I’m also asking if anyone has compassion enough to relieve me of the organizational burden of entering the panel stuff into the APSA website and, as a result, going down in history as the panel’s chair.

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