Justin Timberlake was a Mouseketeer who danced and sang his way into the hearts of 90s America alongside Britney, Christina and Ryan Gosling. He went on to become a heartthrob in the boyband N Sync before releasing his first solo album, Justified, in 2002. Interesting to notice, then, how the 37-year old performer, who played the Super Bowl halftime show for the third time yesterday, is so keen to embrace the aesthetic of his Tennessee roots for his latest release, Man of the Woods. The fire-building, creak-wading Justin of 2018 is all about flannel shirts and fatherhood, which is fine. Timberlake is embracing the fantasy of the rugged cowboy and the pioneer frontiersman, yet this is a guy who built a career ripping off Michael Jackson's moves and exposing Janet Jackson’s boob, lest we forget that infamous "wardrobe malfunction" at the 2004 Super Bowl. Jackson’s career was damaged. Timberlake’s was not. That America is unfairly harsh on women (Hillary) and loves policing the bodies of women of color (Janet) is not news. La Timberlake’s latest embrace of folksy Americana dances on the feather line between fantasy and reality. But America’s willingness to believe in exciting untruths reaches its apotheosis at the Super Bowl which is itself an unstoppable fantasy selling machine blending entertainment, advertising and sport. The perfect platform, perhaps, for a revisionist invocation of red state “roots” in a bid to distance yourself from the wholesale support you and your wife gave to Hillary at your home in California in the run up to the 2016 election? Even though the Prince-inspired sound of Timberlake’s latest album is as studiously soul-funk as ever, the "country" look represents a volte-face that is tailor-made for a post-factual era, where a national hunger for magic and drama got a faux-populist, reality tv star with a Brobdingnagian talent for the fantastic elected president. America is doubtless having a powerful cultural moment, just a very different one from 2016 when Beyoncé delivered her highly political Super Bowl half time show.