The Hagmanian Critique of Marxism

Dallas‘ was hugely popular in all over Europe, including in Germany, where one intellectual called it the first Marxist TV series.  Little did he know that for lots of Europeans who watched the show behind the Iron Curtain, those hideous perversions of capitalism were features, not bugs.  Or so goes the argument from two American libertarians in their Washington Post piece ‘Dallas’ Won the Cold War:

In Romania, "Dallas" was the last Western show allowed during the nightmare 1980s because President Nicolae Ceausescu was persuaded that it was sufficiently anti-capitalistic. By the time he changed his mind, it was already too late — he had paid for the full run in precious hard currency. Meanwhile, the show provided a luxuriant alternative to a communism that was forcing people to wait more than a decade to buy the most rattletrap Romanian car.

After the dictator and his wife were shot on Christmas Eve 1989, the pilot episode of "Dallas" — with a previously censored sex scene edited back in — was one of the first foreign shows broadcast on the liberated Romanian TV. Over the next few years, Hagman became a ubiquitous pitchman in the country for firms such as the Russian petroleum company Lukoil ("The Choice of a True Texan").

To this day, you can visit an ersatz "SouthForkscu" ranch in the nowheresville Romanian town of Slobozia (yes, that’s its real name).

I’d be willing to bet "Plano," the site of Dallas‘ set, sounds as ridiculous to Romanians as Slobozia does to Americans.

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