Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sex, Hooch, and Boardwalk Empire

I just started watching Boardwalk Empire, so I know I'm super-late to the party when it comes to realizing the genius of this show.

So, this show has been lauded for being sexy and dirty and violent.

It's all of that. The men swear and kill and beat. They work real jobs where they use their hands instead of talking on the phone and appeasing customers.

The sex isn't some ethereal, romanticized period piece Cinemax smut. This is hipbone to hipbone awkward, sticky sex. It's sex that leaves a room smelling like mushrooms and fish.

This isn't the F. Scott Fitzgerald's '20s. This isn't the roaring '20s. This is the growling, pissing, rolling in death '20s. This is the era that makes you want to fuck when you haven't showered in a week and there's alcohol burning out of your pores.

We have this image of men (and women) in our history being harder, almost sociopathic when compared to today's standards. Fights, death, and survival were much closer at hand than they are in our modern lives. Slowly, then all at once, we gentrified.

We sanded off our rough spots with cable television, followed by internet, with even more internet after that, with a side of internet. We're introspective (without development, often) and avoid conflict. We've all learned the language of customer service, stand-up comedy, and social media. We're all experts at marketing, and almost no one knows how to butcher their own meat or build a house. Instead of doing something useful, we've convinced ourselves that the only jobs worth doing are the ones that let us sit on our buts.

I don't pine for a simpler time. I want my times complicated, messy. I do pine for a time when people lived in their bodies instead of their heads. I pine for doing instead of thinking or talking.

Is this the evolution of our species?