Feb 9, 2022 • 1HR 43M

Why Conservative Elites Make for Better TV: A Discussion of Succession

Class and elites, on the right and left

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Richard Hanania
Connected to the Richard Hanania Substack. Discussions with Chris Nicholson on war, Rob Henderson on movies, TV shows, and culture, and more.

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.”

You can listen to the podcast here, or watch the video at YouTube. You can comment on the episode on the Substack page for the video.