It’s petty, but for the last minutes of Knock Down the House I could only fixate on the psychology of a man who wears shorts as his girlfriend ousts an incumbent politician of some two decades live on national TV.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now a Democratic congresswoman in the US, would justifiably be irked that I mention her man Riley Roberts first as I review a film centred on her surprise win in New York’s 14th congressional district. I can only plead that, given the film’s fixation on appearances, it’s fair.
I’m unsure if I was supposed to enjoy the joyous cynicism of the opening half-hour of Vice as much as I did, nor if I was enjoying it quite as its creators intended. Either way, it was hard not to.
Adam McKay’s stylised biopic leaves you in no doubt that Dick Cheney, recent US vice president, is a bastard. After an early stint of feckless drunkenness he tries political wonkery, and is sufficiently impressed by the crudeness of a young Donald Rumsfeld to become a Republican. Some diversions aside, he keeps rising.
It is dumb, but I didn’t appreciate just how dynastic the Kennedy dynasty was until Bobby Kennedy for President noted the thorniness of a US president appointing his brother as attorney general back in 1961.
When Nick Clegg takes a knee in front of the Queen to receive his knighthood later this year, it will not be obvious what he has achieved in two decades of public office.
To be sure, as leader of the Liberal Democrats he was the first yellow tie in government since the Second World War. But his Commons seat loss at the hands of Corbynite Jared O’Mara – later disgraced for Internet rudeness – capped a year of Liberal destruction, in an election that has all but ensured Brexit by securing Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.
For all the slating that Christopher Hitchens attracted in his lifetime, it’s the quiet criticism of Jason Cowley, editor of the New Statesman, that best captures the man’s flaws as a writer.
In an otherwise generous obituary in 2011, Cowley wrote that Hitchens’ “polemical denunciations and pamphlets on powerful individuals […] feel already dated, stranded in place and time, good journalism but not literature”.