HBO has a bona fide hit in True Blood, their Alan Ball-created vampire soap opera. While some may see it as nothing more than a ratings smash, Ginia Bellafante sees something more: the US of A.

In a New York Times article that oozes with both astonishment and unbridled adoration, Bellafante explains that Ball and his team have gone above and beyond to create "an allegory for nearly every strain of tension in American life." The vampires are gays! Religious wing-nuts are taken to task! Unchecked sexual freedom, embodied in that witchy woman, Maryann, brings only soulless destruction.

Ah, yes, the fictional town of Bon Temps holds up a mirror to the nation and demands, "Look at yourselves!" And Bellafante's giving the nation the benefit of the doubt by assuming viewers get the message.