Why Conservative Elites Make for Better TV: A Discussion of Succession
Class and elites, on the right and left
I recently spoke with Rob Henderson about the HBO show Succession. We both have found the series a smart and compelling take on our contemporary politics.
Some themes we touch on: differences between conservative and liberal elites; the unusual lack of diversity for a series in our “Current Year” atmosphere; how we define “pervert” and whether one of the Roy children qualifies; the portrayal of both the conservative and liberal perspectives on political divides; why even those on the left are probably more likely to find a portrayal of a conservative family more interesting than one of a liberal family; and how the show captures intellectual currents and dynamics within the conservative movement. At one point, a character actually says the words “He’s a neocon pretending to be a paleocon!”
The show includes a clear stand-in for Bernie Sanders. I also see depictions of Mike Pence, Marco Rubio, the version of Tucker that exists in the liberal imagination, and a senator representing some kind of integralist-alt right synthesis. Is there a Trump? His shadow hangs over the whole show, and we discuss the arguments for and against his existence in its universe.
I explain to Rob why I think that one particular episode serves as a kind of artistic representation of my article, “Why is Everything Liberal?”, while the series as a whole is also consistent with themes from “Liberals Read, Conservatives Watch TV.”