“This new structural reading of The Sopranos was encapsulated neatly by Felix Biederman, a co-host of the leftist podcast ‘Chapo Trap House.’ Recording another podcast in November 2020 — after the presidential election was held but before it was called for Biden, a moment when nothing in this country seemed to be working — Biederman argued that the show is, at its heart, about the bathetic nature of decline.

“’Decline not as a romantic, singular, aesthetically breathtaking act of destruction,’ he said, but as a humiliating, slow-motion slide down a hill into a puddle of filth. ‘You don’t flee a burning Rome with your beautiful beloved in your arms, barely escaping a murderous horde of barbarians; you sit down for 18 hours a day, enjoy fewer things than you used to, and take on the worst qualities of your parents while you watch your kids take on the worst qualities of you.’” — from a N.Y. Times Magazine essay, written by Willy Staley and posted this morning (9.29.21) at 5 am.