William Jackson Harper is nervous. He and I have been on the phone for five minutes, and he’s walking around his living room as we speak, analyzing everything he’s saying and hoping he hasn’t said anything stupid. I can relate.
“Are you pacing right now?” I asked. “Because I pace all the time.”
“Yeah, I’m pacing,” he said. “I am.”
As a self-described neurotic, he takes his nervousness as a given. Later, he tells me about how hard it is to make dinner plans. He and his girlfriend have talked about it.
“What’s happening now is young people are saying, ‘Oh, part of my job today, besides being a gorgeous 17-year-old young person, is to not hate gay people, is to not be racist, is to not call someone a ‘fag’ or anyone a ‘bitch.’ I’m not going to be a misogynist like my weird uncle who spouts off at Thanksgiving dinner. Like, that’s one of my jobs, is to not repeat this.’”
Americans are in a political cold war against one another. In the age of Trump this conflict all too often feels as though it will inevitably turn hot. Americans increasingly do not talk to one another across divides of political party and values; they live in information bubbles that are self-confirming, where prior ideas and beliefs — however incorrect — are nurtured as inexorable unassailable permanent truths. This is especially true of conservatives. Donald Trump has simply taken the status quo ante of anti-intellectualism, ignorance and simple binary thinking which typifies the modern American conservative moment and amplified it for the world to see and without any shame or apologies for doing so.
Actor Jeff Daniels joins Nicolle Wallace to discuss the Trump presidency, the average American voter, and how the current political climate impacts his performance of Atticus Finch in Broadway’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”
The day before we met, László Nemes went to see a superhero movie. He didn’t last long. “I found it unwatchable and false, boring and self-referential, a world of ideal people who don’t behave as humans but more like machines.”
He smiles. It’s tea-time in the Islington, north London branch of Caffè Nero and Nemes gently explains that such films infantilise viewers in two ways. The plots let them defer responsibility for the fate of the world to demigods; the way they are shot – lots of signposting, everything carefully controlled – offers a false sense of omniscience.