I'm sorry you feel constrained by my request that gratuitous political commentary stay out of the Sopranos threads. If you shared my interest and experience as a board administrator and moderator, you might feel differently. (A poster was recently banned from this forum after mixing it up with another who sprinkled provocative political editorials in a series of posts.)
The "mere mention of the president's name" as a time marker was not at all the target of my admonition. I think a thorough re-reading of the original posts should make that clear.I'm more struck by the fact that the mere mention of the president's name as a conventional way of citing a time in cultural history through which we're living and in the legible contexts of which the Sopranos is deeply involved (e.g. the inclusion of the news footage of Iraq during the scenes with A.J. following Melfi's expulsion of Tony) prompts the closing of another (this time virtual) door.
For the record, I have no problem with the invocation of facts from the political arena (though that's almost a contradiction in terms nowadays) when those facts are reasonably related to understanding or explaining some aspect of character or story. But political opinions are inherently incendiary in our current climate, the one created by 24-"news" and talk radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'reilly, and Jack Cafferty. I have seen fires rage from the most casual dispensation of political opinion. And so I'd rather wet the forest before anyone strikes a match.
If someone wants to start a thread about AJ's burgeoning obsession with Iraq, mid-east war generally, terrorism, and his obvious distaste for Bush foreign policy, and what this all may portend for his character or the show, that's fine. There's a genuine story nexus to that political discussion.
But it's gratuitous political editorializing to describe Bush foreign policy as one that "expels the threatening menace but coopts dignity by acting rashly", all to attempt to compare it to an act as small in scope, intent, and effect as Melfi finally listening to the soft little voice in her head and the loud voices of her colleagues, all of which have been telling her for years to dump Tony as a patient. Her action may have seemed precipitous to you, but the seeds for it were planted in the first season of the series -- no later than episode 6 -- when she was left to ponder Richard's claim that she would one day have to move beyond the "cheesy moral relativism" of therapy with Tony and confront the simple issue of good and evil . . . and that Tony was the latter. It took her 7 seasons, but she appears to have finally agreed with him.