Journiest

Cancel Your Trip to Hawaii and Watch "White Lotus" Instead

A lesson in being less of an asshole

White Lotus

White Lotus is a lot of things: a comedy, a thriller, a showcase of career making performances, and, above all, a lesson in being less of an asshole.

If you haven't watched White Lotus yet, start it immediately.

The new HBO Max limited series delivers exactly what you want and need from an HBO thriller: a stellar cast, a convoluted web of lives, and the gripping, but aesthetically pleasing, downfall of the elite. It moves through the lives of different characters at a Hotel Resort in Hawaii, The White Lotus, from hotel staff to various guests.

White Lotus is billed as a satirical comedy with the undercurrent of a thriller. Directed by Mike White, it is as impressive as it is entertaining. According to Variety, it's "a fascinating trick of light that bends its interlocking stories with the kind of impressive dexterity we've come to expect from White. By the time you get used to this show's rhythms, it's already shifted into something else entirely."

But what really makes the show is the cast. Each distinct character comes through in compelling, embodied performances by the cast — Sydney Sweeny and Brittany O'Grady as the pretentious teenagers based on the hosts of the " Red Scare" podcast, whose haughtiness is balanced by both tenderness and turmoil; Alexandra Daddario and Jake Lacy as the newlywed rich couple, whose dynamic is so precisely delivered that I've started rating real life couples I see in the city based on how similar they act to the White Lotus couple; the inimitable Jennifer Coolidge as … a complete mess; the smug and self sabotaging hotel manager; as well as everyone in between.

But the show isn't just a vicarious deep dive into the lives of the wastefully rich; it's a satirical exploration of the more pathetic moments of the privileged, an intimate look into the flaws and foils of different archetypes of People With Money.

Though it's not prescriptive, there is no Answer or moralizing force, one thing is pretty clear: Stop being an asshole.

Some of the most cringeworthy moments aren't in the unimaginable — not the egregious missteps the characters make as the stakes escalate — they're the subtle but pointed glimpses of the daily lives of the guests, all their nonchalant arrogance and easy entitlement.

There are some big, obvious displays of nauseating privilege — a tantrum over a bedroom, the $75,000 bracelets — but more insidious are the small moments. More than once, the directorial gaze lingers on the guests obnoxiously eating at the breakfast bar, touching everything and leaving it out of place, or treating staff like idiots and props, trusting that they will be catered to despite.

The larger plot lines exaggerate these dynamics, but even in their daily habits, their casual conversations, the characters are, well assholes.

In a post-Covid world, this has larger implications. The show barely mentions the pandemic, but small one-liners glance at the privilege the rich have to feel as though the pandemic is "over," to abscond from the "stress" of the pandemic and splurge on a Hawaiian vacation.

What the series does explore, through brief anecdotes and subplots, is the colonization of Hawaii. According to the show's lore, the White Lotus Resort was built on an island sacred to native Hawaiians which the government illegally sold to resort builders. Yet, the resort uses elements of Hawaiian traditions to enhance the "authenticity" of their experience.

This tension shows up as a plot point in the series but is a real, current point of contention. In a case of life imitating art, the colonial undertones of the show are indicative of the current, real-life tensions in Hawaii right now.

Native Hawaiians have been speaking out about the colonial consequences of high tourism for decades. However, the personal impacts have been heightened over the past few months.

As travel restrictions have eased domestically in the US, many people immediately booked trips to Hawaii. However, local communities have been negatively impacted by the influx of tourists and are asking people to just … stop coming.

According to Insider in an interview, an interviewee on the island said it was "'maddening' how many people were there — with most disregarding Hawaii's public safety restrictions."

And this has largely affected the Native populations. A study from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa showed that "Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders account for 40% of the positive coronavirus cases on the islands, but they only make up 25% of Hawaii's population."

Meanwhile tourists get to come and go, ignoring the lives of Natives beyond what they can benefit from. White Lotus is a perfect display of this. Despite the chaos the characters cause, their lives are rarely impacted by the messes they make.So if you're considering a trip to Hawaii, cancel it. Just sit at home, watch White Lotus, and then, honestly, watch it again until it sticks.

Maui Escapist Candle

There's something extremely alluring about Hawaii.

Maybe you've even fallen under the spell of its island breezes; perhaps you spend your evenings drinking in the beachy scent of your Maui Escapist Candle from Brooklyn Candle Studio, or maybe you put on Hawaiian lullabies to chill out after a long day.

During the pandemic, many people actually listened to the islands' call, and huge numbers of people — newly laid off or working remotely or just seeking any form of escape — made the move over to its beaches. Despite the shadow of the Delta variant, newly vaccinated tourists are swarming Hawaii in droves, leaving Hawaiians swamped and struggling to meet demands and needs. In July 2021, over 345,000 people arrived at Maui's Kahului Airport, a 23% increase from 2019.


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Album Review | NomaD Drops 'Grown Tingz'

Reggae with soul and vibrant energy.

Mensch House Records

In late 2016, award-winning producer, composer, and arranger Damon Elliott, suffered a heart attack.

His subsequent survival resulted in his reincarnation as NomaD. He then moved to Hawaii, and began to work on music what eventually resulted in his debut album, Grown Tingz, on Mensch House Records. It was in Hawaii that NomaD hooked up with reggae artist George "Fiji" Veikoso.

Describing Grown Tingz, NomaD says, "It's about the things you go through and how you deal with life in general: the ups and downs, the happy and sad times, and breaking through it all. When you finally have your breakthrough, and you get the feeling of knowing that you are grown – that's what Grown Tingz is all about."

Prior to his renaissance as NomaD, Damon Elliott earned a Grammy award and seven Grammy nominations. With a sound encompassing R&B, gospel, hip-hop, rock, and country, Elliott worked with big artists like Beyonce, Destiny's Child, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Mya, Brittany Spears, Macy Gray, and Deana Carter.

Take It All


Take It All

open.spotify.com


Grown Tingz is comprised of 14-tracks. Highlights on the album include "Take It All," a song about what happens after love fades. Plush vocal harmonies back up NomaD's richly inflected voice, as the reggae tune flows on a thrumming bass line and one-drop beat.

"Perfect Timing" rides a tight percussive beat with skiffing guitars and bright keyboards. "Flame In The Night" combines cool R&B flavors with a compact reggae groove and surfacing colors. NomaD's voice takes on a searching resonance infused with intense passion.

"Girl You're Beautiful" glows with shimmering reggae flavors atop a crunching groove, as chiming flavors appear in the backdrop, giving the song a splendid surge of energy. The closing track, "Let There Be Light," features a vibrant reggae flow, as well as dazzling harmonies from Dionne Warwick, Billy Ray Cyrus, FIJI, Eli Mac, Morgan Heritage, John Elefante, Makua Rothman, Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flats, Gladys Knight, and Landon McNamara.

Grown Tingz is simply wonderful, rife with mellow reggae hues and delicious sonic savors.

Follow NomaD Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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Mississippi continues to dominate the dojo for fattest state in the U.S. for the ninth consecutive year. In a related story, Mississippi is also one of the dumbest states, with the average IQ being 94.2-that’s almost 6 points below average. In another related story, it’s also the most religious, with a whopping 61% loving the shit out of the Lord. Not surprisingly, Mississippi is also one of the most Republican states. Hmmmm....Fat, stupid, Holy and Republican. Are you seeing a theme?

West Virginia took home the silver for second fattest state, but the gold for fattest city in the country! Congratulations, Huntington! Go have a Hillbilly Hot Dog, which, incidentally, gets 5 ½ stars on TripAdvisor!

Louisiana came in third for fattest bastards in the union.

Meanwhile, Colorado maintains its title as the leanest, which is surprising when you consider how much pot they smoke. What do they eat when they get the munchies? Kale?

And, according to a new analysis by CalorieLab, Inc. Alaska got fat while Californians slimmed down. Thank you cross fit. And bulimia.

Wisconsin’s obesity rate rose a full one percent. They also have one of the lowest rates of breast-fed children in the county, which, when you consider the state’s cheese obsession, suggests they are a state bent on overcompensating.

Move over, Washington D.C., here comes something leaner. Hawaii surpassed the District of Columbia as second slimmest state, a spot D.C. had held for three years. Makes sense considering the states unofficial uniform is a lei.

In general, the coastal states rank lowest in the fattest stakes, while states in the South and the Rust Belt tend to be the fattest.

 

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are sunning themselves in Hawaii—and there’s not a paparazzi in sight.

Which goes to show, the high profile couple is capable of low key getaways—if they don’t tip off the press in advance.

However, social media obsessed Kardashian wasn’t capable of not sharing her fabulous lifestyle with the world—posting a photo of palm trees and a beautiful sun rise, although not giving away their location, captioning the pic, “Good morning #BdaySurpriseGettaway”

An eyewitness spotted the couple having breakfast yesterday at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, and shares the sighting exclusively with Popdust.

“They actually looked like any other regular couple, I had to do a double take to make sure it really was them,” the source says.

“They must be staying at a private villa because I haven’t seen them around the hotel, on the beach, or around any of the pools.

“I haven’t seen any camera crews or paparazzi, and they were both dressed very casually. There was no drama or diva-ness, I sat at the table next to them and they appeared to be very down-to-earth—which was really surprising.

“They also looked really loved up. Kanye was holding Kim’s hand throughout much of breakfast and they talked and laughed non-stop. I didn’t see North with them, but I guess she could have been with a nanny.

“At one point though Kanye chided Kim for constantly checking her phone—but, she just laughed it off, and held his hand again.”

Maybe she was checking her birthday messages—Kim turned 34 yesterday and received a slew of well wishes from friends, family and fans—including a gushing message from her hubby himself,

"Happy Birthday baby! Thank you for being the dopest wife & mom!" he wrote. "Sometimes I feel like just saying 'I love you' isn’t strong enough to express how much I love you..."

Meanwhile, we are pretty sure normal paparazzi documented service with resume shortly.