The White Lotus
It’s time to kick the fall semester off in just two weeks. In the start of August, with just a month to the start of the semester, I started looking for podcasts or books or easy-read articles to get my head back in the game, to fire me up. By chance, desperate for something playing in the background as I washed my dishes, I stumbled upon HBO series White Lotus. And boy, did the 6 hour long drama get me exited for deep diving into thick books on landgrabbing, white fragility, decolonizing hipsters, and so on. I am not about to spoil the whole thing, just tell you exactly why this is a good show to get you back into the burning questions of decolonialism:
1. The series starts off with a new group of tourists arriving to the White Lotus, a luxurious hotel somewhere on Hawaii. The employees greeting the new guests have big smiles on their faces as they take care of the guests every need. Throughout the series we get to see the hardships of putting those smiles in place. The self-disipline of these underpayed service personal must be huge – to not crack even when you are in labour, or when you get a presumtios question about you sex life? In the end, after a eventful week (and I wouldn’t count this as a spoiler, since the series start in the end), the rich guests leaves, and the employees of the White Lotus have to shapen up, and start all over with a new group of guests arriving. It is such a good way to end a series that pinpoints just what is so fucked up about class and race differences, and about the industry that is tourism. I spend six good hours being fired up, my dislike for most of the characters growing and growing, just to be left with all of it starting right over – the employees of the White Lotus smiling big at new rich guests who see right through them. Brilliant!
2. The two gen-z drug liberal activist girls giving us a kind of a comment track of the unique ways in which events throughout each episode is problematic is SUCH good satire. They are by far the creepiest of all the characters (and the makers of this series has done a really good job creating unlikeable characters, so that is not to say little). With mild disgust they watch the world around them and do nothing. When one of them is asked for some actual action, all she can do is go into a moral panic. (Which I must assume passes, just like everything else does for these girls).
3. I sincerely hope that this well executed and sharp satire highlighting the problems of colonial tourism and mocking tourists who think they are entitled to every last bit of nature and culture this planet has to offer does not go over peoples heads. What makes this series so good is the fact that the story of Hawaii and its anticolonial resistance is so intricately weaved into the episodes. What if viewers miss it? Hawaii is not done dirty in its depiction, it is beautiful and fiercy, it is ocean and greenery and super goodlooking actors. I hope this series if anything makes people question the tourism industry and not make them long for maitai’s on a white beach. But who knows. Maybe in the end, the wheels on this thing will just keep on spinning and spinning.