Sunday, April 08, 2007

Twilights: Tony Soprano and George Bush

Americans are experiencing the final years of two major figures of the early 21st century, both of whom inherited their careers from their fathers and believe strongly in family values.

But art and life diverge: The fictional Mafia boss is racked by conflict and ambivalence to the point of having panic attacks. The real-life National Leader is never in doubt.

Tony Soprano seeks help from a therapist, but George Bush takes advice from no one.

In “The Sopranos,” the Federal authorities are closing in on the Mob. In Washington, the White House fires Federal prosecutors who don’t toe their line.

Both men have blood on their hands, but the imaginary thug feels guilt while the actual Commander-in-Chief sends young men and women to their deaths feeling smugly secure in the approval of a Higher Power.

The first episode of The Sopranos’ final season tonight was an autumnal drama of aging and waning powers. In the wintry White House, Bush and his capos are in a bunker of denial, still insisting against all evidence that they are in absolute control of events.

In the end, the difference is that there has always been some poetry in Tony Soprano and none in George Bush, and it’s too late to bring in new script writers to change that.

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