WaPo's Frames

I haven’t read the other parts of the Cheney series in the WaPo–at this point I know enough to have an informed opinion. But when I read this, it was like a fart up my nose.

The Klamath case is one of many in which the vice president took on a decisive role to undercut long-standing environmental regulations for the benefit of business.

This frames the article thus: you’re either with Cheney and business, or you’re a tree-hugger. It is implicitly impossible to be pro-business and pro-environment, or in this case pro-salmon. Of course, here we actually have several industries on the other side–namely tourism and fishing. Cheney did not decide against tree-huggers and for hard working farmers–he decided for politically connected agri-business and against fisherman and the many small businesses that depend on tourism in the Klamath valley.

If you keep reading, you see that

Last summer, the federal government declared a “commercial fishery failure” on the West Coast after several years of poor chinook returns virtually shut down the industry, opening the way for Congress to approve more than $60 million in disaster aid to help fishermen recover their losses.

This whole idea that Republicans are pro-business is retarded. They are pro certain industries, mainly extraction and defense. If you fall into a less preferred industry, forget it.

The Fat Guy Sings – "The Sopranos" Judgement Day

The ominous scum bags that Tony spies entering and moving around the ice cream parlor appear poised for some sort of violence. Meadow is flailing to parallel park her car. Music that is ironic in a self-evident but inexplicable way is playing on the jukebox.

Meanwhile, Tony chats with Carmela and absorbs another blow of frustration about his domicile family. A.J. walks in and begins the familiar mostly dumb-kinda’ smart routine about his new job. Family small life is moving on. The door opens again and the screen cuts to black.

The scene has given equal clues about who opens the door. It could be either Meadow or a killer. The eleven-second pause is the viewer’s chance to try to puzzle out which. Since there are enough facts in the scene, and perhaps over the episode and even the series, to support the possibility that it is either outocome the verdict ultimately comes down to your arbitrary choice.

The final scene lets each viewer play God by sparing, killing, or, at its furthest stretch, truly choosing any fate for Don Soprano. The viewer gets to not only decideTony’s mortality, but his morality. You can pick any ending you think a person that has done the kind of things that he has done deserves – the Russian mobster from the “Pine Barrens” could be opening that door, if you really want him to.

The tension of the viewers’ sensation of the dwindling amount of time left to make the decision drives the scene. Meadow’s poor parallel parking is an allegory of this inability to judge by the deadline. She cannot settle comfortably into one place, just as any firm summation of Tony’s character cannot square with compelling contrary data.

The abrupt ending forces an immediate decision. Of course, the fact that most people decided that their cable must be on the blink makes the final scene a pretty damn good joke too.