When You Walk Through the Garden: HBO and the Cross Pressures of Post-Secular Humanism

  • Author(s): Andrew Atkinson
  • When: 2012-12
  • Where: Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
  • Arguing that HBO has been a key player in the creation of a post-secular aesthetic, this article claims that the central figure of this aesthetic is an exaggerated human who is caught between the “cross pressures” of atheism and theism, depravity and purity, violence and transcendent peace, and homosexuality and religiosity. Through a consideration of The Sopranos, Entourage, True Blood, Rome, and Big Love, I contend that HBO has been at liberty to advance fresh representations of religion and spirituality due to its alternative economic model. Because religion is an advertising taboo, the typical figure of humanity represented on network TV is a thin veneer compared to the complex figures that HBO has mobilized.

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