The Day After Brexit

by John Q on December 24, 2020

A Brexit deal has finally happened, so I’m reposting these thoughts, originally from 2016 , which seems like a thousand years ago, and previously edited and reposted in 2019.

Since the collapse of faith in neoliberalism following the Global Financial Crisis, the political right has been increasingly dominated by Trumpism. But in most cases, including the US, this has so far amounted to little more than Trilling’s irritable mental gestures. To the extent that there is any policy program, it is little more than crony capitalism. Of all the Trumpist groups that have achieved political power the only ones that have anything amounting to a political program are the Brexiteers.

The sustainability of Trumpism as a political force will depend, in large measure, on the perceived success or failure of Brexit. So, what will the day after Brexit look like, and more importantly, feel like? I’ll rule out the so-called “soft Brexit” where Britain stays in the EU for all practical purposes, gaining some minor concessions on immigration restrictions. It seems unlikely and would be even more of an anti-climax than the case I want to think about.

It’s easy to imagine a disaster, and maybe that will happen. But suppose everything goes relatively smoothly. That is, Britain leaves the EU and the single market, but gets deals in place that keep trade flowing smoothly, retains visa-free travel for visitors and so on.

What will the day after feel like?

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End-of-year positive note #3: movies, series, video

by Eszter Hargittai on December 24, 2020

On this third day of kick-2020-to-the-curb-on-a-positive-note post series, I’d like to discuss video entertainment. Whether movies, TV shows, Web series, one-off YouTube clips, etc, I’m curious to hear what you enjoyed this year. It can be new or old, whatever you recommend. As we head into some quiet days, I suspect many of us can use some recommendations. To facilitate access, please note where something is available as these days that is no longer self-explanatory.

One of my favorite TV series is The Good Fight on CBS All Access (requires a paid subscription and I think is sadly only available in the US or through US VPN). Covid halted their production in the Spring so it was a short season this year, its 4th season. It’s a spin-off of CBS’s excellent The Good Wife from years ago. It’s very political (all-out anti-Trump) and very not-fit-for-network-TV. It centers around a majority African American law firm in Chicago filled with very smart and passionate lawyers.

A series new to me this year was Borgen on Netflix, recommended by a friend after I told him I was thinking of rewatching The West Wing. It’s a Danish political drama about a woman prime minister. The first episode didn’t grab me, but I tried another and after that I was hooked.

For films, I very much appreciated After Class, a Chinese short film I saw through the deadCenter Film Festival in the Spring. I’m not sure where you can access it, but it’s worth hunting down. (There are other films with that title, this one is directed by Charles Xiuzhi Dong.) I won’t say anything about it, it’s just 15 minutes and I don’t want to give anything away.

I rewatched the excellent 1945 (from 2017), a Hungarian film that takes place at the end of WWII in rural Hungary. I first saw it in a theater in Budapest in 2017 and it was gripping. Having just watched the trailer to post it here, I’m inspired to watch it a 3rd time. So yes, I recommend it highly! If your library has a Kanopy subscription, you may have free access there. If not, Amazon has it for sale (or included as part of Prime Video, it looks like – I don’t have Amazon Prime so I can’t double check that).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Stephen Colbert’s The (A) Late Show for delivering the news this year in a palatable way. (I’m not saying the news itself was palatable.)

What have you enjoyed this year?