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The Good Word

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In Defense of Nonsense… and John From Cincinnati

Austin Nichols as John Monad. Bruce Greenwood as Mitch Yost. Rebecca De Mornay as Cissy Yost. Greyson Fletcher as 	Shaun Yost.

There are many powerful people today who claim to know the mind of God, but who among them would recognize His words were they to come from the mouth of a simpleton? David Milch came at this question sideways, addressing the fears and foibles of today’s America with a powerful, yet cryptic message delivered by John from Cincinnati.

This short-lived HBO series introduced us to a troubled clan of surfing superstars, cutthroat corporate promoters, and a dizzying assortment of groupies, hangers-on, and seemingly-unrelated acquaintances. The story quickly went from odd to fantastic, with levitation, astral projection, avian resurrection, miraculous recoveries, and portents of an impending apocalypse… all related to the sudden appearance of John Monad, an obtuse oracle who only spoke with the words he was given.

Answers to the many mysteries revealed in the series were few and far between, ultimately — and appropriately — requiring viewers to take a leap of faith. We may never know if John and his followers will avert the calamity prophesied to take place on 9-11, 2014, but we can be certain that he gently nudged them a little further along on their personal voyages of discovery and redemption.

Written by in September of 2007. Last edited May 2017.

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