The Zeitgeist Chronicle: June 5th-June 11th
This week: ‘The Leftovers’ comes to an end, James Comey takes the spotlight, and the odd election in the UK.
Welcome to the Zeitgeist Chronicle. Each edition of The Zeitgeist Chronicle will catch you up on the past week’s most culturally-significant events. If you have a fear of missing out, or you just want to know what’s going on in the world, we’re here for you.
‘The Leftovers’ Series Finale
HBO’s The Leftovers, created by Lost co-creator/showrunner Damen Lindelof and author of the original novel of the same name Tom Perotta, made it’s debut in 2014, and after a short 3-season and 28-episode run, it has come to an end, on its own terms.
The premise of the show is the global event referred to as “Sudden Departure” that saw 2% of the world’s population simultaneously disappear. Following Sudden Departure, religion took a turn, cults, most notably the Guilty Remnant, emerged, and as one might expect, life changed.
The Leftovers — starring Justin Theroux — explores religion, grief, and life, and one of the most interesting, albeit small, aspect, as somebody who has not watched the show, is it’s deviation from the opening credits/theme song tradition of using the same sequence every episode.
James Comey Takes Center-Stage
On Thursday, ex-FBI Director James Comey appeared in front of Congress and spent three hours recalling his encounters with Trump — some when Trump was President-Elect and some after his inauguration. Part of Comey’s testimony was released a day earlier, and it did not present Trump in a positive light. In a nutshell, President Trump made multiple, subtle, attempts to get Comey — whose job demands total independence — to align with him.
The most notable instance of this was Trump clearing the Oval Office after a large meeting to speak with Comey privately, something particularly odd because many of those in the room, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had high enough clearance. Many focused on Trump’s use of “hope”, as it could easily be read as a Mafia-like threat, as in “I hope nothing happens to x.”
It should be noted however, that Comey’s testimony is based on his own documentation of his encounters with Trump, and, as the saying goes, each time you recall a memory, you’re actually recalling the last time you remembered it. That being said, Comey’s partisan-independence and character is well respected, making his word more reliable than the President’s. (Take a moment to let that sink in.)
The UK Election
You may or may not have heard that the UK held an election this past week. What you may not know, however, is that because of the UK’s differing Parliament system, this election was what is referred to as a “snap” election — one that was unrequired, but called. In this case, it was called by current-British Prime Minister Theresa May.
May called this election because although her party — the Conservative “Tories” — held a majority the 650 total seats in Parliament, she wanted an even bigger majority, which would make seeing Brexit through smoother. Prior to the election, it looked like May’s plan would work, as the opposing left-wing “Labour Party” and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, appeared to have slim odds of denying May. Her plan backfired.
May’s Tories expected to gain nearly 100 more Parliament seats; they ended up losing 12, and although they still hold the most seats, they also lost their majority. Because of this, some are already calling for May’s resignation. This resulting situation — a “hung parliament” — means exactly what it sounds like it means: like in “hung juries”, there is no controlling majority, making it that much arduous to reach a conclusion — in this case, pass laws, of any kind.