My birthday is on Fathers’ Day this year. I’m happy to share it with them. I dearly love the fathers in my life: my own, my in-law, my children’s — aka my husband. There’s an episode of Blue Bloods, in which it becomes clear the Reagan dad is uncomfortable celebrating his birthday. This causes general angst to those who want to be kind to him on his birthday. Eventually, he decides to give his family a surprise party, in which he takes them to the ballgame. Perhaps I should give the father(s) who are near me a surprise party for my birthday.
Yes, I just used an anecdote from a TV show targeted at an audience just like me! Blue Bloods is what I like to call conservative crack. It has all the right elements to seduce conservatives who are tired of cynicism yet don’t want to watch the Hallmark channel. Its focus is on family, faith, justice, and the necessity of upholding law and order. The characters are Catholics who pray at their weekly extended-family dinners. And they don’t just pray generically, but specifically to Christ, which normally doesn’t happen on network TV.
Furthermore, it’s about the “Reagan” family, which is simultaneously a good Irish name and that of a Republican icon. Through Tom Selleck’s Dad Reagan character and his quietly stoic fight for justice, adjacent values such as loyalty and honesty are extolled. His character epitomizes the Theodore Roosevelt saying, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” In fact, he’s always quoting from Roosevelt.
So, yeah, it’s crack. But it’s ultimately subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) neocon propaganda preaching the mores of the day. When Erin Reagan has the opportunity to guide her daughter into Christian chastity, she instead tells the teenage girl to wait to have sex until she’s “in love”. When the dad goes against the church on homosexuality, he’s asked to recant his position, but he won’t. Not really. Because the church is clearly wrong. And on it goes, extolling every neocon value like a checklist: the police state, the virtues of mass immigration, etc.
So seductive! And I love cop shows, too, always have. Also, the Tom Selleck look is the best look; my husband has it, from his mustache and Euro-British features to his taste in clothes. Another also: Danny Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block. What a babe! Actually, he looks a little like Homer Simpson…. Now I’m being silly. But it is a good thing to recognize how I can be manipulated. I just pray that I can maintain my ability to recognize it.