“White Lotus”: a little metaphysics of the ass

Season 2 of the series White Lotus it just finished. Set in a heavenly hotel in Sicily, the film follows the fate of dozens of characters who it is tempting to describe as “asses”. Aside from the fun insult, Ariane Nicholas he wondered what the word actually meant.

Series White Lotus this is a program that should not be watched in the presence of children! It’s not that the series is raunchy or violent, even if we do get to see a few bits of flesh here and there and start with a dead body being found. But regularly, we laugh at ourselves vulgarly: “Oh, what a fool! » Or a hairpin, depending on the scene. We tell ourselves that “ass” is really the heart of this white lotus, which ended its season 2 last weekend.

What is an ass or a hook? This question came up again at the beginning of the literary season Dear ass of Virginie Despentes [lire notre article]. Ass, as depicted, is essentially a misogynist struggling to reform. Vision probably fits some of the essence of the ass, but it’s a bit narrow. Scrutinizing dozens of characters with a magnifying glass in a seaside palace, White Lotus In particular, it expands the spectrum of “ass” by learning how wealth naturally creates this type of profile. [Dans cet article, « connard » est employé pour qualifier indifféremment hommes comme femmes…]

Five ass islands

Series White Lotus takes its name from the chain of luxury hotels where the protagonists go on vacation, Couples, families or single people have several million in their bank accounts. With the exception of Tanya, each season features an updated landmark event, plot, and cast. Jennifer Coolidge), the red wire of two shutters. So we travel to Hawaii in season one and Sicily in season two. This island behind closed doors and sunny, as it often happens on vacation, reveals everyone’s character: we shout at each other for two weeks and return strangely relaxed.

in season 2, the audience follows the fate of five characters: the men of the Grasso family, four thirty-something couples, two prostitute friends, the alcoholic heiress Tanya and, finally, the lesbian manager Valentina. None of these individuals escape the ass-picker at one time or another. Papa and Grandpa Grasso are nasty machos and proud of it; their son a woke up who tries to escape the tribal womanhood of his tribe and nevertheless takes a wife (Lucia) to take him to California; Tanya treats her assistant Portia as a servant of the Old Regime; And Tanya’s husband elopes in the middle of a vacation, while Portia and her son Grasso flirt with another man in front of her; manager Valentina promotes a woman (Mia) as a prize for sexual preferences; couple Cameron and Daphne turn Harper and Ethan’s lives upside down; A gay troupe tricks Tanya into carrying out a Machiavellian project…

The stupidityit is an insult to ethics

If we can talk stupidity in all these cases is always about pipes inappropriate or irritating. An ass is an insult to ethics rather than morality. The difference between the two is subtle but important. The spiritual it absolutely defines what is forbidden, what is right and what is wrong as a commandment. L’ethicsin turn, it sets a register of more personal intentions and rules, tries to limit the appropriate behavior to be adopted in a certain situation, what is better to do at a certain moment. youconsidering the complexity of all parameters.

Therefore, in this case, coming into contact with others and breaking certain shared rules, not the law, but being able to get your ass out in the open. A murderer is not necessarily an ass, even if he violates a moral prohibition. On the other hand, a law-abiding person can be a perfect ass. For example, Portia has the right to take whoever she wants. But he could have changed the targets more subtly… Cameron has every right to take off his bathing suit when his friend’s wife is around; but he could not make her see him naked… Father Grasso has a right to froth among the people; but he has a right to apologize too…

Although “connard” and “con” are close in French, ass is not an empty number for everything. It is not a fat animal that errs because it is ignorant of virtue (Plato) nor arbitrarily (Flaubert). In White Lotus, the donkey is even often presented as an intelligent being who pursues his own interests with rationality and talent, is interested in the tourist attractions of the island and knows how to be right – he is treated well by the staff. Nothing but a fool, and a bad man cannot be confused with a bad man. It is distinguished by the nature of its actions: the donkey never tries to cause harm on purpose. The irritation he causes is not always the goal of his action, but the fatal result. An ass is indifferent to the suffering of others, in a strong sense: it neither complains nor feasts on it. He doesn’t care.

License and sovereignty of the individual

In this meaning, an ass is, above all, a person who feels he has the right to act disrespectfully and takes credit for that license. If he is obnoxious, it is because he thinks his person so noble and sovereign that he will violate the covenant of aggression which governs the members of a society, and makes no effort to observe it. This antisocial component of stupidity is analyzed by a University of California study published in the journal Collaboration: Psychology. Researchers who are interested in this question usually explain the definition given by the interview participants: “biggest asses” (“asses”) that they encounter in their lives is judged “unpleasant, rude, uncooperative, unempathetic, angry and neurotic”. “In general, the authors note that the violation of social norms and customs, as well as disordered mood, are the main characteristics attributed to asses. »

We would quickly equate stupidity with selfishness. This character trait, but more subtle and White Lotus shows well. An ass does act in its own interests, but it is almost always a reflection of wider interests: family, group of friends, social class, gender. Connardise sheds light on the dialectical activity of the individual, which adapts the individual course to the collective condition, making the group feel more “authoritative”. The donkey is not a completely isolated individual with forced choices, but before him there are things that constitute him socially as a subject. Being a multi-millionaire, Tanya considers it perfectly normal to be treated like Marie-Antoinette, whereas no hotel employee would feel comfortable in the face of such honors.

However, the series insists on one dimension: money. This is what makes the program most deliciously satirical. Money gives assurance to the very rich that they be worthy of their dominant status, even showering the world with their benevolent money because they’re fundamentally “good people” (the philanthropy issue is central to season 1). However, these individuals are so rich that they lose their sense of reality and, above all, their interpersonal relationships are corrupted by capital: Grasso’s son does his father a favor for 50,000 euros; homosexuals manipulate Tanya by dazzling them with pomp; Ethan has been thinking about cheating on his wife ever since he got rich. As a human, money destroys everything. He produces serial ass.

A matter of principles

Apart from these psychological or socio-economic elements, This suggests a tendency to be a kind of ass—the “ass-crazy risk factor”—and you might wonder if there’s something more universal about this personality trait. No matter what our social profile, there’s a good chance that at some point in our lives, we’ve acted like an ass without even wanting to or realizing it. What is it about? Arguably, the story between the two couples (Harper/Ethan, Cameron/Daphne) provides the best opportunity to ponder this question.

Cameron and Daphne are a wealthy couple, white, handsome, smiling, friendly, the American dream in Gucci flip flops. First, he invited Ethan, his former roommate at Yale, to the White Lotus Hotel on vacation to chat. Business…and maybe playing with his wife Harper. We will never know what Cameron was thinking in the beginning, but what is certain is that when it comes to love, he is completely selfish. He cheats on his wife, lies to her, and tries to lure the very “proper” Ethan into his little game. Despite everything, Cameron wins at the end of the series. Ethan deviated from his principles: he himself became an ass.

Who is worse of the two? Cameron, who has no principles? or Ethan who has principles and doesn’t respect them? Of course, Cameron is absolutely the most obnoxious of all, with his condescending remarks and childish incoherence, but what is most ethically reprehensible is Ethan’s change of position. With Cameron, at least we know what to expect. Maybe that’s why self-proclaimed asses like Cameron are ultimately more sympathetic to us, and we can treat them like “dear asses,” as in Virginie Despentes. The ass lives more intensely, more freely, more fabulously, and at the same time gives us a brief sense of moral superiority when we cross its path. Therefore, while reviling him out loud, we secretly thank him for coming into our lives.

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