Don’t watch Gypsy on Netflix. But you already knew that. It was cancelled after the pilot season. No surprise there. What is surprising is that anyone in Hollywood could possibly think that a series about an uptight, white-bread psychologist looking for love in all the ho-hum places could be interesting to any adult. The woman psychologist decides (of course despite her angst about lying to her aggressive corporate lawyer husband — another trope) to find excitement beyond her two-storey back-split suburban home. Kate Hudson (as the psychologist Dr Jean Holloway) is about as riveting as watching paint dry (that’s not original either). Jean’s precocious daughter Dolly gets into mischief, like all upbeat 8-year-old girls in sit-coms. About the worst thing Jean has ever done is tell the barista a false name to write on her her takeout coffee cup. I confess I could only watch 2 episodes before the chills set in. And it was 28 celsius in the room.
More pernicious is Hillbilly Elegy, Memoir of a Family in Crisis. In this book Mr JD Vance (we never do find out what initials stand for), at the ripe age of 31, presents us with his autobiography as a boastful, southern white man. Raised in rural Ohio, but transported back to Kentucky for childhood summer vacations, Vance smoothly rolls out the ‘bootstraps’ tale which focuses on his grandparents — Mamaw and Papaw — who raised him “right.” I’ll say he was right. In the author’s view, an example of social (and moral) rot in his community was the people on welfare and food stamps who also had a cell phones, something JD could not afford when he worked briefly as a cashier. He sympathized with his family when his uncle (as a boy) was asked to leave a toy shop after he broke a toy. Mamaw and Papaw raced into the store; they destroyed nearly every toy in the shop and threatened the store clerk –out of good old-fashioned revenge. The American Conservative magazine loved the book, as did other cracker media. Just to tell you, the cover of this week’s The American Conservative Magazine features the story, ‘Betsy DeVos Aims to End “Kangaroo Courts’ on Campus” which refers to the US Secretary of Education trying to reign in (limit) Title IX, the rules about prosecuting sexual assaults on American campuses.
More nuanced critiques from the left are all over the internet. Of course JD eventually made good — despite his mother’s five marriages, drug addiction, poverty and more. JD’s clan’s belief in him inspired him to become a lawyer. He wended his way from the back woods to Yale law school by taking advantage of scholarships and tending to his own needs and whims. Everything is him, him and him. He never saw a superlative he didn’t like. And the word ‘blacks’ comes up only when he scoffs his people and he was worse off than most blacks. Really?