“House of Cards” Causes Union Guy to Flush

Being as un-hip as I am, I had never heard of the Netflix series “House of Cards” until this morning. It depicts the cynical machinations of a Democratic Congressman from South Carolina, played by Kevin Spacey.

Episode 5 evidently involves a confrontation between the Spacey character and the teachers’ union, and boy, did that set off Randy Shaw, author of  Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century, like a flare. On the San Francisco Bay Area web site BeyondChron, he works himself into high dudgeon over it.

Shaw denounces the show’s “retrograde and even racist union-bashing,” and is especially miffed by the preposterous notion that “union leaders are out of touch with members.” He concludes, “Its packaging of Spacey, Robin Wright and other strong actors along with a fast paced plot transforms the series into a national advertisement for the glory and power of the Republican agenda and the 1%—a fact that Spacey’s cynical sensibility may cause many viewers to overlook.”

A little research revealed that in Episode 6, Spacey is made a laughingstock on national TV during a debate with the union leader, who eventually is goaded into punching Spacey in the face. So it appears House of Cards might actually be a work of fiction.

Next week: The utter lack of collective bargaining in Westeros, and whether Carrie Mathison’s electroconvulsive therapy was fully covered by the union health trust.