Connect with us





And but: Silly mortals that we’re, we do nonetheless seek for solutions, and photographs–however degraded by misuse, overuse, superficial use–remain a key a part of that search. After we consider “Abu Ghraib,” we consider the torture images that American troopers cruelly took after which callously distributed to one another. After we consider “George Floyd,” we consider Darnella Frazier’s cellphone video of his agonizingly gradual homicide. (Although these visuals, I might argue, must be our first thought, not our final.) After we consider the Syrian Civil Warfare, we–or no less than I–think of the “Caesar” images, 55,000 pictures taken by a police photographer. after which smuggled in a foreign country, which doc President Bashar al-Assad’s horrific gulag of torture facilities. In contrast to the primary two examples, nevertheless, Caesar’s photographs–which depicted prisoners with eyes gouged out, grievously mutilated, electrocuted, and starved to death–had zero political penalties, although they had been proven in 2014 on the United Nations and to world leaders together with then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Laurent Fabius, France’s Overseas Minister on the time. The distinction, as Sontag would have reminded us, was the absence of political will–among each the left and the right–to care about, a lot much less meaningfully tackle, the Syrian disaster. It’s generally stated that the Caesar images failed. However the images did not fail: We did. (A vibrant spot, nevertheless: Final yr, the pictures had been entered into proof within the German trial of a Syrian refugee who was subsequently convicted of complicity in crimes towards humanity.)

Within the U.S. immediately, a debate rages about whether or not images of the 19 youngsters murdered within the Uvalde, Texas mass capturing must be launched. It is a tough query: There is no such thing as a doubt that this is able to traumatize their dad and mom, and little doubt that the pictures could be reproduced on torture-porn and conspiracy-theory web sites. To regulate a picture is an unimaginable activity, particularly within the digital world wherein we reside. But many individuals, myself included, imagine that Individuals, and particularly American politicians, ought to see–really see–how an assault rifle obliterates the face and shatters the physique of a 10-year-old. (Most of the youngsters had been unrecognizable, and might be recognized solely by way of DNA.) This may not finish the talk over weapons, because the left-wing journalist Michael Moore as soon as glibly claimed. Images do not finish debates, nor ought to they. However they could inject a much-needed dose of reality–of shock, of awe, of vital horror, grief, and shame–into that debate: one thing that, no less than generally, images, and solely images, can do.


Susie Linfield, a professor of journalism at New York College, is the creator of “The Merciless Radiance: Images and Political Violence” (College of Chicago Press and Contrasto).

Credit score photograph:

Penelope Umbrico

54,1795 Suns from Sunsets from Flickr (Partial) 01/23/06, 2006

element of 2000, 4inch x 6inch machine c-prints, courtesy the artist

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Donna Karan Rallies the New York Fashion Troops to Benefit Veteran Services USA



Donna Karan poses with her fellow designers and models wearing their Style for Strength looks.

Photo: Luca Babini / Courtesy of VSUSA 

What were Thom Browne, Michael Kors, Emily Bode, and a crew of other New York fashion stars doing on the Intrepid last week? At the request of the force of nature that is their fellow designer Donna Karan, all of them have created one-of-a-kind pieces made from military deadstock for a June 5th auction, the proceeds of which will go to Veteran Services USA. Karan gathered them on the historic ship’s foredeck for a photoshoot to promote the event.

Style for Strength, as the sale has been dubbed, is the brainchild of Karan and her friend Cheri Kaufman, the co-founder of both Kaufman Astoria Studios and Veteran Services USA. The auction was conceived to raise funds specifically to support the treatment of post traumatic stress (PTS) in service men and women via a new drug-free protocol, Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM).

“The trauma that veterans have been through really struck a chord with me,” says Karan. “But there is not one person that isn’t dealing with mental health. This program has a 90% success rate, so we are here to bring awareness to it. This is everything I believe in and the ethos of Urban Zen: how to find the calm in the chaos.”

Karan is no stranger to organizing. In 1990, after designers Roy Halston Frowick, Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith, and Perry Ellis, among others, had succumbed to AIDS, she was integral in the founding of Seventh on Sale, a four-day shopping extravaganza that raised $4 million for the New York City AIDS Fund that year and went on to become an annual event. And Urban Zen, the brand she founded in 2007, has purpose written into its business plan, funding as it does the Urban Zen Foundation’s philanthropic healthcare initiatives.

Continue Reading


Yana Wernicke depicts the love between humans and animals



Concerned with modern humanity’s desire for a deeper connection to nature, Yana Wernicke created a touching portrait of two young women who have nurturing relationships with animals. The subjects of her new book, “Companions”, recently published by Loose Joints, are Rosina and Julie, who independently rescue animals from harm and create bonds of trust and love with those that are typically considered only for their economic value. Through tenderness, touch and insight, the German artist’s work follows the path of joy and emotion. This theme plays between humans and animals in hopes to bridge the gap that connects our emotional consciousness and that of the other animals we live with. 

We spoke to the artist to learn more about her project.

When did your interest in the animal world begin?

I always loved animals and growing up we always had pets. But the most formative experience I had was when I was 19 years old and worked at an ape sanctuary in Cameroon for a couple of months. The time I spent working with the animals, observing them and taking pictures with my small digital camera was the beginning of my love for photography.

How did the idea for this project come about?

I wanted to work on a project about human-animal relationships for a long time. In the beginning I visited many animal sanctuaries all over Germany, where I photographed the animals and their caretakers.
In this process, I met Julie in the summer of 2020. She suggested that I should also meet Rosina—whom she had not yet met herself at that point; they only communicated via social media. I started visiting them both over a longer period of time and slowly realized that I wanted to focus the project solely on them.
I was impressed by how both of these women took on this huge responsibility of caring for all these animals with little to no outside support. Their friendship with the animals was unlike anything I had witnessed before. It was less about one-directional care and more about a companionship that goes both ways. Their lives are so intertwined with those of their animals. There is so much trust and tenderness there, but also a huge amount of responsibility and pressure.

© Yana Wernicke 2023 courtesy Loose Joints

Yana Wernicke

Continue Reading


Kate Winslet on Body-Shaming, the Power of Gen Z, and What Keeps Her Grounded



For Winslet, age has come with a certain amount of self-acceptance that allows her to buck negativity and embrace all aspects of herself, a feeling furthered by her role as a beauty ambassador—and an outspoken one, at that. “With L’Oreal Paris and previously with Lancôme, I have been so empowered to use my voice on the part of all women for all women,” says Winslet. “It’s been more significant in my life than I think that I even care to realize on a day-to-day level. It’s a responsibility, it’s a privilege.”

Along with a nearly vegan lifestyle (she cops to eating the eggs produced by her own chickens), Winslet finds wellness through fun times on set (she’s in the midst of filming the geopolitical satire series The Regime, which finds her cracking up mid take on a regular basis) and strong bonds with loved ones. 

“I have a lot of love in my life—I’m very lucky. I have an incredible husband, my kids are great, I have a really good extended family—that’s always my touchstone,” says Winslet. “Even in the moments I think, ‘Okay, this isn’t real, this isn’t really happening,’ whether it’s walking down the red carpet at the Oscars or standing onstage and winning two BAFTAs, I still know that we’re all going to snuggle up in bed and watch movies the next day, you know? And those are the special moments that definitely keep me grounded.”

Continue Reading


8 Ski Resorts To Visit in the Summer



A ski holiday always makes for a thrilling winter getaway, but you know what just might trump it? A summer sojourn to snowless slopes. Visiting a renowned ski destination without having to pack a puffer coat or moon boots is truly an unsung delight—and for those like me who have yet to successfully graduate from the bunny hill, it provides the opportunity to experience a scenic location that doesn’t end in a defeated shuffle to après. 

When you think about it, the appeal of an off-season ski destination is fairly innate. “Not to state the obvious, but better weather,” Abercrombie & Kent Europe product manager Liam Dunch remarks on the topic. During the summer, days are sunnier and longer, making it easier to enjoy a breadth of activities. “You have the ability to walk, swim, kayak, or canoe in some of the most picturesque areas where there is snow and ice in the winter months,” he adds. If you’re a nature enthusiast, this means carte blanche to enjoy the mountains without fear of frostbite or avalanche (always a bonus). 

“In the warmer months, the mountainous terrain of many ski towns lends itself well to adventure travel,” Black Tomato owner and co-founder Tom Marchant concurs, offering recreational amusements like hiking, biking, and zip lining as ways visitors can take advantage. “These places are so magical in the off-season that people are known to ‘come for the winters but stay for the summers,’” Marchant says.

And it’s not just the good weather—visits to off-season ski destinations can have perks ranging from fewer crowds to lower rates on airfare and accommodation. “Winter travel was at an all-time high demand last year, so these off-season perks are not to be downplayed,” Marchant notes. When I ask TravelLocal co-founder Huw Owen about this, he emphasizes that “Europe’s top mountain destinations have become increasingly crowded in the winter months, while being overpriced and offering a limited window for optimal ski conditions.” The solution, of course, is to pivot to the off-season, which is what many have done in recent years.

“Visiting ski towns in the summer definitely drew many crowds as we emerged from lockdown,” Indagare CEO and Founder Melissa Biggs Bradley says. “Now, even with travel abroad booming once more, ski towns still remain a popular option for people who love active outdoor vacations and for those who hope to avoid crowded beaches.” It’s also well-suited for wellness seekers, as the spa really hits its stride in traditional ski towns such as St. Moritz. “Outdoor yoga is unlikely after skiing, but after a morning of hiking or kayaking imagine spending your afternoon immersed in luxe spa treatments (some offered outdoors to take advantage of the gorgeous weather) or a poolside lunch and sunset yoga, making for a well-balanced day in nature,” Abercrombie & Kent senior tailor-made product specialist Alison Duray says. 

Continue Reading


Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini Resort 2024 Collection



In his tenure at Philosophy, Lorenzo Serafini has explored the notion of romanticism at length. For resort, he went for a minimalistic version, turning to the current fascination for the sleekness of the ’90s to give his otherwise gentle repertoire a laid-back twist.

He called his take on the of-the-moment ’90s trend “romantic minimalism,” explaining that to be modern, grace has to be rectified with clarity and definition. To that end, he kept silhouettes slender without detracting from their softness; even masculine tailoring, while sartorial in construction, was expressive of a certain sensuality. Slightly oversized blazers were cut in smooth, luscious satin, fit for both day and evening occasions; waistcoats in fresco di lana, a dry wool usually used in menswear, were reduced to backless bibs worn on bare skin, or elongated into minidresses. The pantsuit of the season cut an hourglass figure, with a tight-fitted double-breasted blazer and straight, knee-length shorts.

Because this collection will land on sales floors in time for Christmas, Serafini worked on a series of party dresses that tied up flirtatious appeal and neat contours. A standout was an evening gown in satiny black techno duchesse, with a plunging neckline and a sculpted ankle-grazing skirt, that would’ve exuded a sort of Breakfast at Tiffany’s vibe, if it wasn’t for the addition of leather flip flops that kept it on the cool side.

Embellishments were ditched in favor of some sparkle; in a further nod to the ’90s, a see-through, stretchy crystal mesh tube dress was worn over a black bodysuit, while textured-denim pants were coated in a layer of square-cut sequins. Ruffles replaced other forms of decoration, peeking out from cropped tops, lining loose gilets, or blooming in circular formations on crisp poplin dresses. Make it sleek, but keep it romantic.

Continue Reading


Victoria Beckham Resort 2024 Collection



It’s hard to find clothes that are both easy to wear and interesting. Plain utility can feel unappealingly dull on the one hand, and on the other, designer clothes can be offputtingly over-complicated. Victoria Beckham is turning out to be someone who has a nice set of solutions to that tricky brief. As she puts it: “There really is a strong reality in the garments. Everything looks really quite simple, but it’s all about the consideration, the execution, and the subtle details.”

True. Somewhere along the line, her collections have assumed a non-uptight flow that strikes a good balance between usefulness and sophistication. Her confident assemblages of tailoring and mostly ankle-grazing fluid dresses have been garnering critical approval since she started showing in Paris a couple of seasons back.
Still, it always takes a little while for a look to sink in, and then it’s another thing to follow up with tangible product that follows through on a good runway impression. On an appointment to view her spring pre-collection—on racks instead of photos—it’s clear that she’s got that covered, as well.

Interestingly, it’s the hidden quirkiness in the cut and proportions that gives her clothes their appeal. “For example,” she said, “this pair of trousers has one leg wider than the other.” That’s something you definitely wouldn’t zoom in on in a lookbook, or maybe even when worn by a friend. It sounds eccentric, but what it does is create a softly pleated volume with a slouchy drape at the waist. Worn with one of Beckham’s precisely tailored blazers, it’s a look that emanates off-handedly grown-up chic.

Asymmetry plays another role in her dressmaking. It’s not always easy to understand dresses that fly off madly in all sorts of directions, but here Beckham is using the possibilities of bias cutting, ruching, and collaging to great effect. Some of her eveningwear has the air of 1930s dance dresses, minus the vintage-y feel. There are day dresses that are somehow patchworked from pattern pieces that run in diagonals and seem to spiral around the body. You notice the dynamic lines because of the white piping edging each component.

All that plays into hanger appeal, provoking the kind of curiosity liable to make a woman want to try something on rather than pass (as we do so often) because it looks too difficult. “I think it’s just about finding a point of difference,” Beckham observed. That doesn’t sound like much, but in a world overloaded with competing product from high street to haute level, such considerations count for a lot

Continue Reading


Balenciaga Resort 2024 Collection | Vogue



Ever since Demna founded Vetements, wry observation of how people dress on the street and for various occupations has always been a dynamic behind his design. The scenario playing out in his new Balenciaga video is very much that way, except that this time the street is the Avenue Georges V. The time-lapse slice-of-life captures people busily going in and out of the Balenciaga maison at number 10, or passing by. Whether they’re denim-clad teens, a motorcycle delivery person, a bourgeois dog walker, a skateboarder, or the retinues of black-clad hoodie-up fashion people going about their business—this is how the whole monde would look if everyone dressed in Balenciaga.

It’s entertaining. We watch as the insider members of the perma-shaded Balenciaga gang deal with the unwonted indignity of being caught in a sudden Parisian downpour. A character, clad in a long beige mackintosh with a tartan lining, saunters from the house looking all cool, until they suddenly panic, pat themselves down, and have to turn back in, realizing they’ve forgotten their keys, or more likely, their phone. Someone else desperately tries to find their Uber, or flag down a cab. Finally, the rain proves a terrible inconvenience to the glamorous personages—are they there for a couture fitting?—who are forced to scuttle into the doorway wearing their silver-sequined floor-length evening dresses, right in the middle of the day.

Underlining the fact that Demna is steering the brand narrative back to Paris, and to the house, he punningly named the collection Capital B. His second take on the collection is by way of a lookbook, apparently shot in grand rooms that variously overlook the Place Vendome and the Arc de Triomphe. Here, his perma-silhouettes are clearly in view: the oversized suiting, enveloping trapezoid coats and puffed-up trenches, the hoodies, and the bug-eyed ‘Dynamo round’ shades with almost everything. As a pre-collection it encompasses every Balenciaga category, womenswear and menswear, formal black tailoring to denim, motorcycle leathers and sweatpants. Interspersed are also pieces from the high-luxe ‘Garde-Robe’ collection, which are an annual release, such as the silver-fringed embroidered dress at the end.

But it’s the accessories in Demna’s Balenciaga world that teeter on that inimitable line he enjoys walking between the reappropriated common object and the absurd. His ‘towel’ wrap skirts are indistinguishable from actual towels. The ‘rodeo boot’ bag is a tote that really does look like the person is solemnly carrying a ginormous pair of brown leather boots. The string market bags are string market bags, but tricked out in rhinestones.

Some of these are pre-existing Demna-isms. The hyper-elongated turned-up square-toed “Romeo mules,” however, are a fresh introduction. They’re almost a caricature of swagger—possibly transferred directly from a cartoon or computer game (we don’t know, because Demna wasn’t quoting this time). Still, his chuckle can be distinctly detected behind this work, forever asking: Is this cool, or is it silly? Is it cool because it’s silly? And at what point does it all become normalized again, because that’s just the way everyone dresses on the street?

Continue Reading


Retinol and Retinoids: 6 Things You Should Know Before Using



Ah, retinol. When it comes to defense against fine lines and maintaining a healthy glow, there’s no ingredient in skincare more lauded. The irony? Even though the revolutionary youth-enhancing active is a mainstay of drugstores, department store counters, and dermatologist offices alike, it still manages to mystify. And thus, it’s often underutilized or misused.

What is retinol?

To bring it back to the basics, retinol—alongside other retinoids, such as retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate—is essentially a derivative of vitamin A, which is one of the body’s key nutrients for boosting cell turnover. “It’s added to topical skincare products to promote skin renewal, brighten skin tone, reduce acne, and boost the collagen production,” explains New York City dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD. “It also functions like an antioxidant to help address free radical damage, which leads to visible signs of aging.” The way dermatologist Francesca Fusco, MD, sees it, it’s the ingredient that does it all in dermatology, both cosmetically and medically. “I consider it a gold standard in skincare and often explain it to my patients as something that sweeps away dead skin cells, clogged pores, and dull skin,” she explains.

Here, experts break down how to carefully incorporate the powerhouse ingredient into your regimen to achieve a supernaturally fresh-faced complexion, now and for decades to come.

Begin in Your Mid-20s or Early 30s

Thirty has long been the banner year for introducing retinol into one’s routine, but many women are starting before then, motivated by early signs of aging, such as sun spots or crows feet, or simply eager to get a head start and utilize the latest technologies—under the careful watch of their dermatologist. “Your mid-twenties are a great time to start using retinol,” says Ellen Marmur, M.D. “Many patients who have used it for years swear by it.”

PCA Skin Retinol Treatment for Sensitive Skin

U Beauty Resurfacing Compound

Shani Darden Skin Care Retinol Reform

Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturizer

Integrate Retinol Slowly and Gently

“Balance is critical,” cautions Bowe. “Retinol can be very irritating if used too frequently or if the formulation is too strong for your skin.” She recommends starting off with a pea-sized amount of a low percentage over-the-counter formula (.01% to 0.03%), and using it “two times per week, slowly increasing the usage to give the skin a chance to acclimate.” Moreover, you should skip your retinol product on the day before you exfoliate (Bowe recommends exfoliating two to three times per week). “Exfoliating is abrasive and irritating, and you do not want to compound the skin irritation by heightening your skin’s sensitivity,” she says, adding that if you’re getting certain in-office treatments like lasers, microneedling, microdermabrasion, you will want to take a break from your retinol. In the spirit of not overdoing it, there’s a spate of new time-release formulas fit for skin types prone to redness or breakouts. “They’re a good option for people who have sensitive skin,” explains Fusco. “It releases the active ingredient over time and may offer less irritation.” In terms of prescription retinol versus something over the counter, the former is much more potent with a higher percentage of retinol, and one may graduate to it over time, says Bowe.

La Roche-Posay Redermic R Retinol Cream

SkinMedica Age Defense Retinol Complex .25

Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

Watch Out for Harsh Side Effects

While certain side effects, such as mild irritation, dryness, and sun sensitivity, are normal as your skin adjusts to the active ingredient, intense flaking, redness, and burning are not—and those with especially sensitive skin, or who struggle with conditions like rosacea or eczema, should be wary of retinol or shy away from it altogether. “If you cannot tolerate retinol, don’t worry,” says Marmur. “It’s not the only anti-ager! There are plenty of amazing anti-aging ingredients, such as wild indigo, that work beautifully without any irritation or sun sensitivity.”

Lancer Advanced Retinol Treatment

Algenist Elevate Advanced Retinol Serum

Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum

CeraVe Skin Renewing Retinol Serum

Use Retinol Only at Night and Wear SPF Every Day

“Although retinoids are not phototoxic, meaning they won’t react with sunlight to cause a burn on the skin the way lime juice can, many of them do break down when exposed to UV rays,” explains Bowe. “So applying your retinoid in the morning might render it less effective, and a high-quality retinoid can be quite pricey. That’s why I recommend using your retinol, or your retinal (my personal favorite retinoid, which is 10x more bioavailable than retinol) at night.” For proper sun safety, Bowe recommends being diligent about applying a daily broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher during the day. Moreover, with retinol use, one should always be conscious of the weather forecast and trips to hot locales. “It should not be used during seasons or vacations when individuals will be spending extended time in direct sunlight,” warns Fusco.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

La Prairie Cellular Power Charge Night Treatment

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night

Eve Lom Time Retreat Intensive Night Cream

Don’t Stop at Your Face

When applying a retinol-infused elixir, don’t neglect your neck or décolletage, which are areas notorious for showing the signs of aging, yet often overlooked. “If those zones seem too sensitive for your current formula, add a squirt of ceramide-enriched moisturizer before smoothing it on, or pick up a separate retinoid made specifically for the area in question,” says Bowe. “They typically contain a lower dose of vitamin A, zero fragrance, and loads of soothers.”

SkinCeuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum

L’Oréal Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum with 0.3% Pure Retinol

Mara Evening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol Oil

Continue Reading


Ribbons! Lace! Necklace-Covered Bags! Enter the Era of Accessorized Accessories



Some of the most interesting combinations of carefully adorned handbags have a DIY sensibility. Take, for example, the Paris based content creator Lara Violetta Giller’s puffy avocado green Margiela bag bedecked in lace trim and a mini ballerina slipper. “I tried to find things I already have at home to make it really me-like,” she says. “So, I used a piece of lace, some pins, a mini ballet shoe which used to be my keychain and a ‘Figa’ lucky charm.”

But perhaps what’s most interesting about this trend is that so many people are citing Jane Birkin as the inspiration behind it all. And so, countless videos were born in the past few months in tribute to decorating one’s bag just like Jane Birkin, as a brand new generation is discovering photos of her for the first time. The icon, who helped design the infamous Birkin bag in 1983, was known to personalize her bag with colorful cords, keychains, jewelry and even a bite mark or two from her cat. “I started a few months ago because I saw pictures of Jane Birkin’s Birkin bag,” says Violetta. “She accessorized it with pearls, strings, little bells and many different lucky charms. It made this infamous bag so personal and cool.”

Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg in 1974

GIRIBALDI/Getty Images

Jane Birkin with her accessorized Birkin bag in 2013

Jun Sato

For others, the mass appeal of thrifting and upcycling has everything to do with adding found objects onto everyday bags. “I upcycle clothes using thrifted and recycled materials, so I naturally apply repurposing techniques to everyday items,” explains Mahea Firestine, who has tacked everything from a vintage Tamagotchi to Byzantine style necklaces onto oversized bags, also inspired by Jane Birkin. “It’s a great way to make the most out of what you have, while expressing yourself and stepping outside of the box. I love anything metal because they add a luxurious look; pendants, bracelets, necklaces, waist chains, belt buckles. I also have fun with adding things my younger self would love, such as a Betty Boop keychain and bows.”

Trend forecaster Jessica Richards describes the phenomenon as “representative of the ongoing desire of the collective to be recognized for individuality.” Though people have been adding individualistic touches to their clothing for centuries–especially in times when subcultures flourished, like punk in ‘70s—this feels slightly different than the past. “We’re seeing that many adornments relate to ‘cute culture,’ with a nod to the optimism and feel-good spirit of so many nostalgic trends; we’re seeing amulets of protection and safety, like crystals.” 

Continue Reading


Creamy Margins, Fisticuffs, and a Cow-Print Couch: On ‘Succession’’s Spectacular Finale



Fuck off. And just like that… Succession has ended. The battle royale for Waystar Royco saw GoJo victorious, and all of us choking on a large slice of Tomelette. It’s a conclusion few of us saw coming, variable as the business alliances, shifting sibling rivalries, and strategic bids for empire have been in Jesse Armstrong’s HBO monolith.

The final episode of Nepo Baby Monopoly picked up after King Lear’s funeral (with its front row of Logan WAGs) in the wake of Roman’s cataclysmic coffin-side meltdown. Our potential successors made a quick Caribbean jaunt, much like in the opening of a Bond movie, and though we were starved of a high-speed car chase or laser watches, their mother, Lady Caroline—a master of passive aggression—was every inch the Bond villain. After a conflab in the ocean, the siblings unite, but never has their three-way treaty held fast enough to get them through an entire episode, let alone a critical board vote. Shiv and Roman joked about murdering Kendall, and then went on to do it—in a business sense, but also very nearly in a non-business sense—at the eleventh hour. There were guest bathroom fisticuffs, boardroom fisticuffs, and a delicious cameo from a cow-print couch. Lukas “Privacy, Pussy, Pasta” Matsson seized the throne, Tom “highly interchangeable modular part” Wambsgans ascended to American CEO.

Despite its unpredictability, the finale felt entirely apt. No matter how rocky or easy the terrain towards Kendall’s defeat, it’s been underlined (or struck-through) since the pilot, when he flew right up to the sun. Watching him Icarus forward on half-melted wings has been the macabre joy of Succession.

It’s hard to say who’s truly victorious. Each character is still living on the creamy margins of their position: rich and privileged is forever, it’s only power that differentiates them. And Matsson aside, who has the power now? Shiv’s partnership with Tom—the hokey-pokey divorce proceedings, the baby, the bitey—has never been clear-cut. The Roy sons—Kendall, Roman, and even Connor—are all “nobbies” (bread ends) forgotten in a bag. I honestly wonder if Greg still has that sticker on his face? All of them had the savvy and the cunning to succeed Logan, had they only worked together. But they’re each too selfish, too untrusting and untrustworthy, too ravaged by their own riches and empathy-free childhoods. Who are the Roy children if not pain sponges, soaking up cutthroat ambition, marinated in mercilessness? When trust is worn down to a nub, when everything is a play or a bid to succeed, betrayal is the only currency left. When sincerity dies, treachery is the only ace. That’s the card Tom played to win.

Continue Reading