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“Boyd and I Dug Coal Together”

“Boyd and I Dug Coal Together”

Justified, Moral Perfectionism, and the United States of America

(p.175) 5 “Boyd and I Dug Coal Together”
New Television
Martin Shuster
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents a close reading of FX’s Justified, arguing that the show takes up the mode of new television (developed earlier in the book) and uses it to comment on the political project of the United States of America. This theme is pursued through an analysis of the relationship between Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder. That relationship, in turn, is understood as one exemplifying what is termed, following Stanley Cavell and John Rawls, a “conversation of justice.” Furthermore, it is shown how the issues that Justified raises map onto and reflect exactly the criticism of Rawls that Cavell presents in Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome. The chapter concludes by returning to aesthetic issues of modernism, showing how these connect to the political philosophical themes sketched throughout.

Keywords:   Stanley Cavell, John Rawls, United States of America, America, Raylan Givens, Boyd Crowder, friendship, democracy, Harlan

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