Everyone loves to try and use TC as a microcosm for society, but there is always one principal problem with it: it’s TV. How can you turn something that is by and large very specific into something general … especially when you are trying to create an analogy between Edwardian England and present-day America? We are not presenting the following quote about “Downton Abbey” season 3 to necessary endorse or support any political party, but to rather just comment on how crazy the statement really is, and the problems that come when scripted television and politics mix.
The following comes to us courtesy of British economic journalist Stuart Varney of the Fox Business Channel, who made an appearance recently on “Fox & Friends” and had the following to say about how Americans may somehow be getting brainwashed by what they are seeing on PBS these days:
“The politics of Downton are very important and it’s important that they are popular in America today. Rich people, powerful people, in America today, are reviled. They’re dismissed as fat cats who don’t pay their fair share. We just hate ’em — ‘Rich people are evil’ … Yet, along comes this show ‘Downton Abbey’ — rich people prominently featured and they’re generous; they’re nice people; they create jobs, for heaven’s sake; they’re classy; they’ve got style and we love ’em … That show is wildly popular, which poses a threat to the left, doesn’t it?”
So basically, the argument that Varney seems to be making here suggests that everyone of a certain political viewpoint assumes that all rich people are Mr. Burns, and watching a show like “Downton Abbey” will ge them to change their minds. This is effectively the equivalent of someone saying that the servants on the show will suddenly make conservative viewers start to realize that poor people are not all trying to just live off of the government and have no interest in working. It’s bad, and it sort of defeats the purpose of what inauguration day is supposed to be about: bringing America together.
What we hope to see “Downton Abbey” do for viewers is really just help them to understand that there can be harmony between separate classes, and not that you can make sweeping generalizations about society based on the actions of a few. It’s obvious at times that the series is glossed-up in a way to appeal to mass audiences, and we don’t mind this when viewing it as a piece of entertainment … which is what it is. Not a piece of political discourse.
Do you have a take on whether or not “Downton Abbey” reinforces any particular school of thought? If you want to see some more scoop pertaining to the actual show, you can do so here.