John Powers

It may be hard to believe, but modesty was once considered a virtue. These days, of course, our world is dominated by people — and by expressions of pop culture — that keep telling you they're big and important. If you call a TV show "modest," it sounds as if you're saying that it's bland and unambitious, a loser in the great Squid Game of modern life.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HEROIN")

When we're young, it's easy to imagine ourselves as always being on the right side of history. We like to think that, if we were trapped in cruel or barbaric societies, we would be the brave ones stepping in to stop injustice.

Ever since Watergate, it's become commonplace to say that it's not the crime but the cover-up that takes you down. While this may be true of political or financial malfeasance, sometimes a crime is so grievous that covering it up might seem to be the smart move.

Pages