Connect with us

Politics

In Season 2, The White Lotus Shifts Its Bite to Sexual Politics: Review

Published

 on

(Bloomberg) — When The White Lotus aired its first season in the summer of 2021, it was a gift for the content-starved. Creator Mike White had gotten HBO to pay for a Hawaiian vacation in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, then came back with a biting social satire set at a high-end resort. Audiences ate it up.

Then the question became: Could he do it again? HBO quickly renewed The White Lotus for a second season, with the catch that White would be anthologizing his show, heading to a different resort locale with an almost entirely new cast of characters. (Obviously Jennifer Coolidge would be back, because why would you get rid of Jennifer Coolidge?)

So is The White Lotus season 2, premiering on October 30, as good as its predecessor? In short: Yes, but it’s not quite as spiky. The class commentary has been sanded down in favor of a dissection of sexual politics; the result may be less insightful, but it’s still very fun. And although the first episodes of this installment feel a bit familiar—are these monied, self-centered travelers just variations on what we’ve seen before?—the show eventually succeeds with a carnal plot that’s half-farce, half-tragedy.

This time the guests are stationed at the White Lotus hotel chain’s lavish outpost in Sicily. Michael Imperioli, F. Murray Abraham and Adam DiMarco play three generations of the Di Grassos, a miserable family with Sicilian heritage, who have traveled together to get in touch with their roots and get away from marital drama back home in Los Angeles.

300x250x1

Their comrades in gilded grimness include nouveau riche tech entrepreneur Ethan Spiller (Will Sharpe) and his employment lawyer wife Harper (Aubrey Plaza), who are traveling with Ethan’s college buddy Cameron (Theo James), a finance bro, and Daphne (Meghann Fahy), a glamorous stay-at-home mom. Harper needs an Ambien to sleep because of “everything that’s going on in the world”; Cameron and Daphne don’t read the news. Judgment oozes through every interaction this foursome has, as Plaza directs her finely tuned stink-face toward Fahy’s breezy chatting.

And then there’s Coolidge, back for seconds as the daffy, lonely Tanya McQuoid-Hunt (née McQuoid), now married to Greg (Jon Gries), whom she met at the White Lotus property in Maui in the show’s first season. Adding to Tanya’s ménage is her assistant, Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), who isn’t there to do anything specific (Tanya doesn’t work) but who is overburdened nevertheless.

The final part of the equation is two local girls, Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Grannò), who sneak around the hotel to the exasperation of  manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore), who half-correctly assumes them to be sex workers. (Lucia has arranged to meet one of the guests; Mia is there just there as support.)

The show’s first two episodes are amusing without being thrilling. The characters make one another’s acquaintance, sip spritzes by the sea in the hotel’s baroque finery, form allegiances and make underhanded comments.

Portia, shunned by her boss, is adopted by the Di Grassos; Harper sneers at Cameron and Daphne’s put-on cheeriness; Tanya rides a Vespa. It’s not until the third episode that a fuller picture of the show’s erotic intrigue emerges. Characters’ masks begin to drop, and the guests’ lack of inhibition plunges us into the transactional nature of sex and desire. By then, we’ve already had a foreshadowing of multiple deaths; eventually, the plot boils down to a question of who is going to sleep with whom before the dying starts.

It’s pleasurable pulp, enhanced mightily by the introduction of Tom Hollander as a gay British aesthete who takes a shining to Tanya in the fourth episode.

Unsurprisingly, when you put a bunch of excellent actors in a beautiful setting and watch them emotionally annihilate each other, it’s great TV. But even if this was all an opportunity to hear Coolidge say the word “aperitivos” a few times, it would be worth it.

Source link

Politics

We need a law against lying in politics

Published

 on

[ad_1]

Of all the lies she’s told in her political career, Danielle Smith’s latest might be the biggest yet. After insisting it was the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) that “asked for us to do a pause” on renewable energy development last year, it turns out the AESO’s CEO was actually opposed to it all along. In an email that came to light through a freedom-of-information request from The Narwhal’s Drew Anderson, AESO CEO Mike Law indicated that he was “not supportive” of the idea. “A ‘closed for business’ message to renewables will be reputationally very challenging for the province,” he wrote.

This is already having a number of potential negative outcomes for Alberta, from the independence of its supposedly independent electricity market operator to the damage this decision is doing to investment in the province. This week alone, TransAlta announced the cancellation of its 300-megawatt Riplinger wind farm in Cardston because of the new provincial regulations and put three additional renewable energy projects on hold.

Sady, this probably won’t negatively impact Smith’s popularity. We’ve come to expect our elected officials will lie to us, and they’ve been more than happy to live up — or down — to that standard. When Pierre Poilievre and his Conservative MPs tell bald-faced lies, whether it’s about the carbon tax or the treatment of drugs in B.C. (they’ve been decriminalized, not “legalized”), most of us — journalists and non-Conservative MPs included — have almost become accustomed to them by now.

300x250x1

In fairness, the same holds true for the lies being told by those on the other side of the House of Commons, even if they happen with far less frequency. We’re all increasingly numb to the cost of these lies, big and small, and the corrosive impact they have on our political discourse and the decisions that flow from it.

This isn’t unique to Canada, of course. Politicians lie everywhere. But at least one politician is willing to do something about it. Adam Price, a Welsh parliamentarian and former leader of the centre-left Plaid Cymru party, recently tabled an amendment to that country’s broader election reform act proposing that it be made illegal for an elected official or candidate to “wilfully mislead the parliament or the public.” Opinions, beliefs, and other non-factual statements would be exempt from this proposed law that has the support of Wales’ Liberal Democrats and Tories.

This isn’t Price’s first rodeo here. He became famous for trying to impeach former British prime minister Tony Blair for lying about the Iraq war, and he clearly still believes in the importance of politicians telling the truth. “If a doctor lies, they are struck off,” he told CBC’s As It Happens. “If a lawyer lies, they are disbarred. And yet we seem to have tolerated a democratic culture where politicians can lie with impunity. Well, that’s got to stop.”

Donald Trump’s arrival on the political scene in 2016, and his well-documented status as the world’s most voracious liar, created a permission structure for other aspiring liars to test their own limits. So, too, has the decline of conventional media and the rise of a right-wing information ecosystem that holds the truth in nearly as much contempt as the journalists who try to inform it. And while those trends are most visible in American politics, where everything (including the lies and the liars) is bigger, they can clearly be seen in ours as well.

It’s entirely possible such a law would fail to pass constitutional muster in Canada, although, if Poilievre is willing to pre-emptively invoke the charter, then maybe Justin Trudeau could do the same here. But maybe as a first step, his government could establish an officer of Parliament charged with cataloging lying offences and identifying the politicians responsible for them. If former Toronto Star reporter and U.S. fact checker extraordinaire Daniel Dale is looking for an opportunity to return home, this might be the perfect job for him.

The cynics will surely suggest that this wouldn’t have any meaningful impact on our political discourse, much less the natural inclination of politicians to bend the truth of any given situation to their advantage. They might be right. But at a moment where misinformation is more widespread than ever, and where democratic institutions are increasingly coming under attack, we at least ought to have the courage to find out.

 

[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Politics: Donald Trump faces off with Stormy Daniels in the New York trial’s latest developments

Published

 on

[ad_1]

This week, Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss Stormy Daniels’s testimony in Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial; marijuana rescheduling; and the media’s role and responsibility in defending democracy.

Here are some notes and references from this week’s show:

Josh Gerstein for Politico: Stormy spoke. Trump fumed. Jurors were captivated – but also cringed.

300x250x1

Ivana Saric for Axios: Status of Trump’s criminal cases

Li Zhou for Vox: Marijuana could be classified as a lower-risk drug. Here’s what that means.

Sam Tabachnik for The Denver Post: Black market marijuana grows are popping up faster than law enforcement can take them down. But is legalization the cause?

John Ingold for The Colorado Sun: What have we learned about the arguments for and against legalized marijuana in the past 10 years?

Nathaniel Meyersohn for CNN: The dark side of the sports betting boom

C-SPAN: President Biden Remarks at White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Ben Smith for Semafor: Joe Kahn: ‘The newsroom is not a safe space’

Dan Pfeiffer for Message Box: Why Biden Won’t Do a New York Times Interview and A Response to the Editor of the New York Times

Matthew Yglesias and Brian Beutler for the Politix Podcast: The Times, They Aren’t A Changin’

Charles Homans for The New York Times Magazine: Donald Trump Has Never Sounded Like This

Eli Stokols for Politico: The Petty Feud Between the NYT and the White House

Here are this week’s chatters:

Emily: Vision: A Memoir of Blindness and Justice by David S. Tatel

John: Gina Kolata for The New York Times: Locks of Beethoven’s Hair Offer New Clues to the Mystery of His Deafness

David: Randy Yohe for West Virginia Public Broadcasting: W.Va. Gubernatorial Campaign Attack Ads Vilify Transgender Children and Kyndall Cunningham for Vox: The Drake vs. Kendrick Lamar feud, explained

Listener chatter from Justin and Katie in Columbus, Ohio: Keziah Weir for Vanity Fair: The Vatican’s Secret Role in the Science of IVF.

For this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, David, John, and Emily talk with Emily Lawler, Detroit Free Press. See Emily Lawler for the Detroit Free Press: Voters’ voices in Saginaw CountyJohn Wisely: Legal troubles don’t dampen Trump enthusiasm as he visits Michiganand Paul Egan: As Trump visits, Michigan bellwether Saginaw County is feeling its political juice. See also Arpan Lobo: Michigan lawmaker says ‘illegal invaders’ landed at DTW. They were NCAA basketball teams.

In the latest Gabfest Reads, John talks with David E. Sanger about his new book, New Cold Wars: China’s Rise, Russia’s Invasion, and America’s Struggle to Defend the West.

Email your chatters, questions, and comments to [email protected]. (Messages may be referenced by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise.)

Podcast production by Cheyna Roth

Research by Julie Huygen

 

[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Barron Trump Is Officially Entering Politics

Published

 on

[ad_1]

Graduation

The former president’s youngest child will serve as a Florida delegate at this year’s Republican National Convention

300x250x1

Donald Trump’s youngest son is officially making his foray into his family’s political mafia.

The Republican National Convention has selected Barron Trump, the 18-year-old son of the former president, to serve as a delegate for the state of Florida at this year’s GOP presidential nomination convention this summer— where he is expected to vote for his father.

Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is serving as co-chair of the Republican National Committee and, according to a list of delegates obtained by several news outlets, the convention will be a family affair. Three of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Tiffany Trump, have also been tapped to serve as delegates for their father.

While Trump’s youngest child has been out of the spotlight both during and after his father’s presidency, Trump himself has clearly grown more comfortable leveraging Barron’s name as a political weapon.

Trending

Last month, Trump repeatedly claimed that Judge Juan Merchan — who is overseeing his ongoing criminal hush-money trial — had barred him from attending Barron’s high school graduation ceremony later this month, despite the judge having submitted no such order.

On April 30, Merchan ruled that the court would be excused on May 17 to allow the defendant to attend his son’s graduation. But despite his public griping that securing permission was ever even a question, Trump has already packed the day of his son’s milestone with campaign events. According to Minnesota news station KFGO, Trump will headline the Republican Party of Minnesota’s annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner that same night.

 

[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending