The Last Righteous Man

Righteousness has entered an anachronistic phase. Duplicity seems all the rage at the moment.

I have been watching reruns of CSI Miami. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced show, which had a successful 10-year run on network television, is now in syndication on WE tv every weekend. It’s been my summer guilty pleasure.

If you remember the series, or have watched more than a smattering of episodes, you’ll be familiar with the show’s protagonist, Lieutenant Horatio Caine. Caine, played by veteran actor, David Caruso, is the rare alpha male on television these days. During our season of conflict and ambivalence regarding wrong and right, there’s little doubt where Caine comes down on any issue during the series’ hour-long story line.

Give 'em an hour and the CSI Miami team will always get the bad guy.

Give ’em an hour and the CSI Miami team will always get the bad guy.

Caine doesn’t mollycoddle criminals and has little patience with ne’er-do-wells. He’s also loyal to the staff that serve under his command, and never shies away from standing up to the brass in support of his people and his crime unit. He’s someone that has no use for formalities, and he never demands anything more than he’s willing to lay on the line, himself. When’s the last time you worked for anyone with just one of those qualities?

You could dismiss Caine’s character as mere fiction, and you’d be accurate on that account. However, the show’s writers obviously understand—or at least have some remaining memory—of that time when there were real-life Horatio Caines walking among us. A time prior to post-modernism’s scourge of moral relativism.

It’s possible that when the show was in production, back in the early-2000s that there was still a flicker of binary morality’s flame, and crime-fighting figures like Caine were still capable of commanding prime time runs. CSI Miami was ratings-popular for much of its initial television life, from 2002 until its final season in 2012.

One last element that I’ll mention about Caine and his CSI colleagues is the absence of agendas and ideological axe-grinding. Perhaps I’ve found enjoyment and entertainment in the program partly due to the escape it affords me from the news headlines of our present time. And isn’t that one solace that fiction affords?

I’ve been reading George Monbiot’s latest book, How Did We Get Into This Mess? Politics, Equality, Nature. Monbiot, a longtime British journalist who writes mainly for The Guardian, is harshly critical of our current crop of leaders and the solutions being offered most of us not considered one-percenters. I’m enjoying his insights and am once again reminded of the economic damage wrought be neoliberalism’s nearly 40-year march across the globe.

Monbiot is an unabashed progressive who has real concerns with neoliberal politicians like Hillary Clinton. He’s certainly no fan of Donald Trump, either. We’re currently left in the lurch, with a political Hobson’s choice. Once more, we are forced to choose the “lesser of two evils”—between either neoliberalism or neofascism—not a choice at all.

We are surely in a mess of a magnitude that I’ve not seen in my lifetime, and I’m pretty sure we lack the means (and other requisite qualities) to extract ourselves from it. And unfortunately, there are no Horatio Caines coming to save the day, either.

3 thoughts on “The Last Righteous Man

  1. I’m never watched CSI Miami; I’ll ask Handy to DVR it for me along with all those episodes of Big Valley that are piling up.

    It’s pleasant to read your blog this morning, in spite of the topic. Many of the blogs I used to read have become grandstanding arenas for “the world is burning” but “buy my book to save yourself.” Thanks for not doing that.

  2. I know a couple of people like Caine. One has left her position and another is ready to retire in a year or two. People who are like Caine are unfortunately at the whim of “higher-ups” who often don’t have the same philosophy and unless they are willing to cave or leave they eventually can become unhappy and unwell. Hanging on to kindness in the workplace has gone out of style and people can’t get ahead if they practice that virtue.
    Whatever “get ahead” is supposed to mean.

  3. There was a movie a few years back, maybe 15 now, with a young Russell Crowe (speaking of which, Master and Commander, there’s a true alpha leader), David Caruso, and Meg Ryan hanging around chewing up the scenery as usual. Called “Proof of Life,” it is about the kidnapping of a US engineer in a Latin American country, and how experienced operators played by Crowe and Caruso rescue him. Caruso isn’t the lead, but it’s the best thing he ever did, IMHO. Very highly recommended.

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