Fall Detox For Political Junkies

The Grand Guignol of the endless Washington melodrama is wearying. Too much monkey business, as Chuck sang. Isn’t there something else we could concentrate on this Fall to ease the horror?

As a matter of fact, yes. Most Americans give scant attention to politics and the news. They have better things to do, like raise their kids, earn a buck and seek a little entertainment. And Fall is full of movies vying for an Oscar nomination, a new TV season, books lining up to grab a Christmas shopping dollar, and football.

The story line in the latter is interesting. By the fourth week of the NFL campaign all the predictions have been upset. Denver without Peyton is undefeated. New England without Tom Brady is 3-1. Maybe coaching is as important as quarterbacking and defense as important as offense.

We’re also seeing a changing of the guard as new quarterbacks come to the fore — Carson Wentz, Derek Carr, Sam Bradford, Dak Prescott, Trevor Siemian. And teams thought to be powerhouses falter and also-rans climb the standings. So Chargers, Colts, Panthers, Cardinals are in the basement and Vikings, are undefeated and Texas, Eagles, Rams and Falcons are leading their divisions. Even the long missing-in-action Raiders are 3-1.

The world’s turned upside down. On a darker note, the number of players already hors de combat with concussions and knees. The injuries seem to become more numerous every year, so that the winner of the Superbowl is not the best team but the survivor of a war of attrition. This may eventually make the gladiatorial spectacle too painful to watch.

Movies that may prove watchable this fall include paranoid thrillers, crime and terror offerings like “The Girl on the Train,” “The Accountant,” and “Operation Avalanche.” There will be space operas like “Arrival” and “Passengers,” films about Americans with true-life lawyers in “Loving” and guns in “Newtown” and “The Tower.” Grown-up dramas including “American Honey,” “London Road,” “American Pastoral,” “Manchester-by-the-Sea” and “Nocturnal Animals” will also arrive. Almost any film would be preferable to spending another two hours watching Trump and Clinton debate.

And then there’s the new TV season. Already “Designated Survivor,” “High Maintenance,” and “Falling Water” seem unlikely to repay continued attention, but “Speechless,” “Divorce,” and “Goliath” might pan out. “Westworld” may be a keeper, and mercifully “Elementary” and “Shameless” are back.

If all else fails, there are books by the long lost Peter S. Beagle, the latest from Tana French, autobiographies by Springsteen and John Le Carre, “American Revolutions” by historian Alan Taylor and “Paradise Now” about American utopian communities.

Finally, as a kind of break-glass-in-case-of-emergency last straw to grasp at, you could watch 24/7 coverage of the next hurricane with ridiculous TV dopes standing in hundred mile an hour winds telling you to run for your life while they refuse to take their own advice. But even election coverage may be preferable to that.

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