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The Guy Who Wants to Replace Zelensky
Plus: Sonny Bunch reviews 'Dream Scenario'
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CATHY YOUNG: The Guy Who Wants to Replace Zelensky.
RECENT INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE of the war in Ukraine, some of it quite sobering or even pessimistic, has fueled tense debates and polemics in Ukraine: Will the West lean on Kyiv to negotiate with Moscow and accept a settlement that cedes at least some of Ukraine’s occupied lands? With President Volodymyr Zelensky’s term officially expiring next March, will Western concerns about the legitimacy of Ukrainian democracy force wartime presidential elections? Amid these controversies and speculations, one man’s name keeps coming up: Oleksiy Arestovych. The Zelensky adviser-turned-rival is not new to Ukrainian politics, but he has radically reinvented himself. His political fortunes may be a good barometer of where things are headed in Ukraine.
Ukrainian law forbids elections and referenda during periods of martial law, which Zelensky declared after Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. While it may raise some democratic hackles, it makes sense: How is Ukraine supposed to hold a national election when millions of its citizens are under Russian occupation, displaced from their homes, or living temporarily in other countries? How are the authorities on the front lines supposed to know who is alive and who is dead? How are candidates and parties supposed to campaign? How are they to hold campaign events or in-person voting when any large gathering could become a target for a missile hit?
SONNY BUNCH: ‘Dream Scenario’ Review.
DREAM SCENARIO IS NOMINALLY about a handful of trendy topics—notions of the day like virality and cancel culture and out-of-control college kids demanding everyone acknowledge their lived experience and bow to their claims of trauma—but it’s really about an age-old idea: the crushing inability to be happy with what we have.
Consider Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage). Matthews lives in what can only be considered to be radical comfort: A professor at a midsize liberal arts school with a wife, Janet (Julianne Nicholson), who also works full time, Paul lives in a large multistory home with their two beautiful daughters, Sophie (Lily Bird) and Hannah (Jessica Clement). On one level, he really does kind of have it all.
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ZANDY HARTIG: Fool’s Gold.
THIS FOOL IS A TERRIFIC but occasionally frustrating series on Hulu. Boasting a uniformly excellent cast and clever and daring writing about people and issues that are generally overlooked and underappreciated on television, it should be a slam dunk. However, its mordant wit sometimes veers into a nihilism that dampens the enjoyment of this show.
“This fool” is a colloquial, neighborhood expression that is both an insult and a term of affection, and it encapsulates the series’s ethos. At its best, it balances sarcasm and edge with charm to great effect. Julio Lopez (Chris Estrada, the co-creator of This Fool), has played by the rules, not always to his benefit. Even though he manages a nonprofit, Hugs Not Thugs, which helps ex-cons and gang members transition to life outside of prison, his matriarchal family considers him to be a loser because at the age of 30 he’s unmarried and still lives at home. He has an on-again-off-again relationship with the free-spirited Maggie (Michelle Ortiz), and a contentious relationship with his cousin Luis (Frankie Quiñones), recently released from prison and now put under his charge at Hugs Not Thugs.
Happy Friday! It was so great to meet so many readers at last night’s full-room event at Klein Theatre. We’ll have more video for those who couldn’t make it next week. Watch this space!
Overtime is off today for some R&R (see above), but the first installment, Charlie’s interview with Brian Stelter is below. Be sure to pick up a copy of Brian’s book, Network of Lies, which will be my Thanksgiving reading (and makes a great holiday present!)
While the House is acclimating to a new Speaker… The former Speaker, my Speaker, is living his best life.
Monopoly for Millennials… Was the first big release in what has become, as of recent, a spate of new versions. It was the last weeks of our old magazine, going into Thanksgiving, so I took a few young kids, and we played, and reviewed it. It’s fun and might make your Thanksgiving week fun!
Calling all cooks! We’re accepting recipes for The Bulwark holiday cookbook, which I put together every year. Send me your favorite recipe by responding to this message.
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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.