Everything that I see must converge.
Pitch: The New Ethics of Luxury Hotels
I’d like to write a story about how the world’s top luxury hotels are adapting to the Trump Era. When a culture of excess and flashy luxury arguably led to the election of a racist demagogue to the country’s highest office, how can historic prestige properties assuage their guests’ qualms? This story would require expensed travel to the Ritz-Carlton Paris, Grand Hotel Vienna, and Aman Villas Maldives.
Pitch: Review of Criterion Fellini Gold Collection
Hacking down the forest of postwar realist Italian cinema, Fellini’s body of work birthed modern auteur cinema. A new, remastered edition of six films from his ‘high modernist’ period, including the meta-masterpiece 8 1/2, function, I will argue, as an expressionistic autobiography of the late filmmaker. Of course, the question undergirding my critical appraisal of this corpus is what to do with so-called “great men,” especially great white men, when some sick version of a Napoleon Complex has propelled one short-fingered vulgarian to the presidency.
Pitch: A Forgotten Tribe of the Amazon
Deep in the Brazilian jungle, an indigenous group down to its last 200 members has emerged for the first time to the outside world, due to mounting pressures from a multinational oil and gas conglomerate. As an invited member of a risky anthropological mission to catalog their way of life before it’s too late, I learned about their unique counting system (only multiples of three), various tree-based alcohols, and the unique psyches of people who have never heard of Donald Trump in their lives.
Pitch: Kylie Jenner’s Glossy Life
The youngest sister of the famous family who takes their biological features as just light suggestions presents as an impeccably airbrushed facade. But the burgeoning lip gloss mogul may turn out to be the wealthiest member of a family of capitalist savants — which I learned on a week-long joyride through Los Angeles and environs on her fleet of pink sports cars. Highlights include the VIP room of at the concert of her on-and-off rapper boyfriend, a rooftop bar with sold gold stemware, and Kylie’s wellness philosophy, as expressed in our comparison shopping of four different high-end spas. This profile of a young female businesswoman of course functions as a commentary on the highest-profile female businesswoman in America, Ivanka Trump.
Pitch: Airing The French Laundry
What does “gourmet” mean in America in an era when our president dines almost exclusively on well-done steaks and chicken fingers? To find out, I will visit the temple of haute Americana, Thomas Keller’s French Laundry restaurant. This trip will require several visits to the French Laundry and roundtrip transportation to Yountville, California. Could extremely refined food be the ultimate act of subversion against a philistine ruling class? That is what I hope to find out by dining repeatedly at The French Laundry.
Pitch: Tinder & Trump
We’re now in Year 4 A.T., Après Tinder, the location-based mobile dating app that has utterly disrupted how millennials experience sex and love. We are probably in for four years of President Trump. Coincidence? There must be something there, right? Maybe millennials were too busy “swiping” to get out the vote? Or maybe their comfort socializing with strangers is propping up the #resistance? To be frank I’m still working this one out. But imagine the headline possibilities.
Krithika Varagur is a writer and journalist based in Jakarta.