Monday, February 21, 2011

A Kylish Gesture

Presidents Day weekend is a fitting time to announce that I've resumed my careful study of "The West Wing" from beginning to end, with special focus on Nixon references and resonances. I've just started watching season three, which would seem promising because of the investigations of President Josiah Bartlett's cover-up of his multiple sclerosis.

Not much on Nixon yet, though. A congressional committee chairman who's antagonized the White House by favoring big tobacco is named Kalmbach, but they don't mean Nixon's jailed personal attorney. Episode 3:01, first aired on Oct. 3, 2001, is Aaron Sorkin's post-Sept. 11 teleplay on terrorism and Islamophobia. It holds up well after nearly a decade. In 3:3, "Ways and Means," producers breach (inadvertently, I assume) their policy of not referring to active-duty U.S. politicians. That's Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) on the TV screen behind Toby Ziegler. And that's a Nixon resonance after all, since Kyl's being honored next month by the Nixon Center.

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