The popularity of The X-Files in the 1990s seemed to reflect a growing cynicism about the U.S. government. Perhaps the TV show’s most extraordinary message is that the public figures seen in Washington, D.C., who seem to represent the nation-state in all its flag-waving glory, are much less consequential than the operatives of obscure government agencies.

Paul A. Cantor is Clifton Waller Barrett Professor of English and Director of the Comparative Literature Program at the University of Virginia.
Culture and SocietyEntertainmentGovernment and PoliticsGovernment PowerLaw and LibertyPolitical Theory
Other Independent Review articles by Paul A. Cantor
Spring 2007 Economic and Cultural Globalization